A Powerful Spiritual Battle

Luke 12:1-3 ESV

“In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.”

Trampling One Another

The first verse of this reminds me of social media where thousands of people gather together, and many of them do trample on each other verbally. Even Christians do this to one another. This should not be!

As a general rule, we need to learn to disagree with one another respectfully. There is no cause for being nasty to others, or for name calling, or for attacks on other people’s character just because we disagree.

I have always been taught to attack the problem, not the person. Yet, this is not to say we shy away from lovingly confronting other believers if we know they are living in unrepentant sin. And, it is not to say that we can’t combat lies with the truth, using the spiritual armor God has given us to stand against the enemy of our souls, and against his attacks against us.

But if we, being followers of Jesus Christ, are publicly devouring one another via personal attacks, and via slanderous or cutting remarks, we are showing that we are hypocrites who claim to love God and others, while we lead by example that we actually are treating others hatefully.

And, we give a bad name to Christianity because, if this is how we treat others, we are not living what we say we believe. We are preaching one thing while living another, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They taught a man-made gospel with outward only forms of righteousness while they were still living in wickedness behind closed doors.

Their religion was surface only. It was just going through forms of religion. They were good at appearing righteous on the outside, but their false righteousness did nothing to transform their wicked hearts.

Exposing Wicked Deeds

So, what are the characteristic traits of a Pharisee? Biblically, they were those who were known for appearing righteous on the outside while inwardly they were filled with all kinds of wickedness. Their righteousness was for show and it was outward only, but it did not change their hearts or their minds or their behaviors.

They hounded Jesus continually, looking for ways to try to trip him up with his words, even purposefully setting traps for him hoping to see him fall. They were jealous of him, felt threatened by him, and they resented him because of who he was, for the things he did and the things he taught, and for the influence he apparently had over the people, at least for a time.

They didn’t like him, too, because he called them out for their hypocrisy and for their wickedness, and for their evil deeds and for their false righteousness and for their false teaching, too. For, by their lies and their deception, they were leading many people astray so that they became “twice the sons of hell” as they were, according to Jesus (Matt. 23:15).

And, we have such Pharisees among us today, but they aren’t all legalists. Most of them are those who teach a cheapened version of God’s grace. For, they teach a false righteousness, which is outward only, because it does nothing to change the hearts of those who profess it by faith.

For, those who accept this cheapening of God’s grace are still in slavery to sin, for this false grace gospel doesn’t deliver anyone from their bondage. It merely covers up the sin, but it doesn’t deliver from the sin, just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. And, so they promise them heaven while they make them “sons of hell,” for they continue living in their sin without change.

For, this cheapened form of God’s grace makes no demands for repentance, forsaking our lives of sin, for walks of obedience to God’s commands, and for walking in the fear of the Lord, submitting to him as Lord/Master of our lives. Thus, it doesn’t teach its adherents that they can be free from their addiction to sin. And, that’s not grace! That is cruelty!

And, so the Lord Jesus has been sending his servants and messengers out on the internet and on social media to expose this cheapened form of God’s grace for the lie that it is so that people will be awakened to the fact that what they are being taught is a lie, and that the lie will not save them from hell or guarantee them eternal life with God.

And, the Lord’s servants are not only exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness, but they are also shining the light of truth in contrast to the darkness so that people will see the lies for what they are and so they will know the truth which stands opposed to the lies, which is the only truth which will set them free from their sin and which will promise them eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Enemy Attacks

Since Satan is the one behind this cheapened form of God’s grace, because only Satan wants people to remain trapped in sin, he is enraged at the Lord’s servants and messengers who are bringing the devil’s lies into the light and who are exposing them, and who are sharing the truth.

And, he has servants and messengers, too, and they are those who masquerade as servants of righteousness but who are really wolves in sheep’s clothing out to destroy the saints of God, and to trap them back into sin.

But they aren’t content just with trapping people in sin and keeping them there while promising them heaven. They are also out to try to trap and destroy the Lord’s servants and messengers who are exposing their lies and who are telling people the truth. And, so they are on the all-out attack against those who are sharing the full gospel of salvation from sin.

And, so there is a powerful spiritual battle happening on the internet and on social media between those who are teaching the grace of God in its fullness and those who are teaching a diluted gospel of grace which leaves its adherents still trapped in slavery to sin feeling as though there is no way out.

Thus, those who are teaching this cheap grace gospel absent of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord are teaching a twisted and rebellious and godless gospel. And, the authority over what they are teaching is not God, it is not the Word of God, but it is Satan, and it is of the flesh of man, and it is wicked, not holy or righteous.

Thus, they teach rebellion against Almighty God and against his moral laws which we, as the body of Christ, still must adhere to. They promote sinful lifestyles, for they make no requirements for holy or righteous living. They are no different from the Pharisees, for the righteousness they teach is surface only, not inward. Not in the heart. So, they teach lawlessness.

And, they are coming strongly against the Lord’s messengers because they don’t want people to know the truth, and they don’t want what is in the darkness brought into the light, because they want to keep people trapped in sin and not living in the light of truth in freedom from their bondage to sin, and in freedom and empowerment of God to live godly and holy lives.

So, we need to be putting on that armor of God daily, and we must be those who are speaking the truth, and who are exposing the lies, and who are combating the lies with the truth, for this is a battle for the souls of all people. And, we need to let the Holy Spirit give us the words to say.

Soldiers of Christ Arise

Lyrics by Charles Wesley, pub. 1741

Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies, through His Eternal Son.
Strong in the Lord of Hosts, and in His mighty power,
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror.

Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued,
But take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God;
That, having all things done, and all your conflicts passed,
Ye may o’ercome through Christ alone and stand entire at last.

Leave no unguarded place, no weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace, and fortify the whole.
From strength to strength go on; wrestle, and fight, and pray;
Tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well-fought day.

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