Tuesday, September 27, 2022

We Are At War!

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We Are At War!

By Leonard V Johnson

We certainly are aware – or certainly should be aware – of our mortal and spiritual enemy, Satan the Devil. He is our adversary. He is the evil one who seeks to destroy the living Church of God. To destroy you. So, we must be prepared to fight and win this spiritual battle for our spiritual survival.

Bright and Beautiful Morning here in Spring Hill, Florida, dear brethren and friends from around the world – our friends in Gambia, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Port Elizabeth, and all here in the States. Welcome. Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries – I’m Leonard V. Johnson.

Deacon Trevor not long ago posted his latest BIBLE TALK entitled “Trevor’s War.” And today, for this sermon, I would like to talk about this spiritual war that all the soldiers for Christ Jesus have to endure in this life.

Turning to the Book of 1st Timothy chapter 1

Verse 18“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.”

The Apostle Paul knew, unmistakably, that we brethren, both in his day and throughout the coming generations, that we would be involved in a great many tribulations – troubles – and battles with the evil one.

In the second book of Timothy, he adds – 2nd Timothy chapter 2

Verse 3 – “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

We must submit ourselves willingly to the Rock of our salvation. And we must endure hardships, persecutions of all kinds, deprivation, tribulations, and even severe temptations – if we are ever expected to receive our crown of life.

Verse 4 – “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please [H]im who enlisted him as a soldier.”

Ever since our Lord Jesus Christ built His Church she has known war! Over and over again within God’s living word, the analogy of God’s begotten children are in a war. Though we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has said, “ … ‘on this [R]ock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades [the grave] shall not prevail against it.’ And that Rock upon which the Church of God is built is JESUS CHRIST Himself! Not upon any man. Jesus’ Church has prevailed through every generation.

But will you – as a soldier for Christ Jesus – prevail with it!?

To ensure that you will not become a casualty of this monumental battle against these principalities, these powers, these rulers of darkness of this age, you MUST LOOK TO JESUS!

Sadly, and I know this personally, many that literally were within the living Church of God have since thrown the precious grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ away from them! They stopped enduring. They stopped overcoming – with the LORD our God’s merciful help right up to the bitter end.

Verse 3 again of 1st Timothy chapter 2 – “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

Brethren, things that cannot be taught in our basic training or learned from the Book, we MUST learn in the field. Courage is an example.

I can recall one such test in 2006 –
As I sat at the counter of a truck stop restaurant, I noticed a seat down from me which had a jacket thrown over the back of the seat and a neo-Nazi-looking man with a thick Russian accent was sitting next to that chair. Not long after I sat down, a young Mexican man sat down in the seat with the jacket thrown over the seat. He began a conversation with the thick Russian accented man – how his grandmother and father both had died on the same day. I half expected him to literally cry on this man’s shoulder.

While I sat there, a strong feeling came over me and a thought – they’re going to get up shortly and go off together. They continued sitting there together for another five minutes, when, sure enough, they both get up and are going off somewhere together. Another thought – say something to that young Mexican man, and stop him from going off with that other man. But, I was too scared – they would surely think I was a kook. I began to shake. But I never said anything to that young Mexican man. And they both walked out together.
I, personally, have had a great number of these types of exercises.

So, it is spiritual. If we do not exercise God’s gift of spiritual discernment and overcome and solve spiritual problems, trials, tests, and hardships – then we will not remain in very good spiritual shape. We will become spiritually weak.

In the Book of Deuteronomy chapter 20, the LORD our God said to the children of Israel –

Verse 1 – “’ When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, …’”

I can recall once many years ago now – I was laid over in Phoenix, Arizona. And I was at the Circle K on Buckeye Road. A rather seedy side of the city. I needed to walk next door to the Quick Stop for some food supplies, but there was a gang of hoodlums between the store and me. I began praying fervently to Father God and our Lord Jesus Christ for my protection. And, as I walked past them – they acted as if I was invisible.

As I looked upon that gang of hoodlums – that mighty army of a dozen, I had no might in comparison to them. But God’s powerful legion marshaled with me as I walked right on by them – unharmed.

Verse 2 – “’ So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest [and with the New Covenant, our High Priest is our Lord Jesus Christ!] …’”“ …’ that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. 3) And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel [and even the spiritual house of Israel]: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. DO NOT let your heart faint, DO NOT be afraid, and DO NOT tremble, or be terrified because of them; 4) for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’”

The LORD our God wants soldiers who will strap on the armor of God and fight with undaunted veracity – relying always upon Him – until complete victory is won!

Our Commander

Even though bravery is certainly a quality that must be nurtured throughout a lifetime, it can be motivated and brought to the forefront if our Commander commands the same quality.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is our Commander – we “were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20), we belong to Him (cf. Psalm 100:3; Romans 8:9-11; 14:8).

“Our LORD God …” – and let us briefly explain –

Our “LORD God” – YHWH Elohim is a compound term that is composed of two nouns. As in English, Hebrew nouns are divided into two categories: common nouns and proper nouns. Common nouns refer to a general group or class, but proper nouns refer to a particular person, place, or thing. According to Hebrew rules of grammar, YHWH – as a proper noun – can only be followed by a noun or a noun phrase that either qualifies YHWH or is in apposition to YHWH (i.e., a noun or a noun phrase that refers exclusively to YHWH). Therefore, when the proper noun YHWH is used with Elohim, as in LORD God, both nouns must be interpreted as referring to the Godhead. 1

However, contrarily, the Hebrew rules of grammar today interpret Elohim as a reference to the angelic host. Again, according to God’s living word – i.e., Genesis 3:22 – and every passage that uses the combined YHWH Elohim – both YHWH and Elohim MUST be grammatically interpreted as names that identify the Godhead

So, the Godhead – for there is but one Godhead; consisting at this moment – God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ – was and is the Commander of the children of Israel (both physically and spiritually speaking)! And an example of the Lord our God’s glorious leadership is shown to us in the Book of Joshua chapter 5

“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’

And this mighty Man standing there with His sword in hand said, “’ No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.’

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord [notice the word ‘Lord’ is not all capitalized!?] say to His servant?’

15) Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal[s] off you [feet], for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” – Joshua 5:13-15.

The Lord our God Himself appeared before Joshua, drew His mighty sword out of its sheath, and said to Joshua, ‘I AM the Commander of the LORD’s army.’

This was a great inspiration to Joshua and his army during their soon-coming military campaign against their adversaries.

“The Captain of Our Salvation”

The Apostle Paul calls the Lord our Savior the Captain of our salvation – Hebrews 2:10. And as the living Church of Jesus Christ, we are a spiritual army. And, we are at WAR!

Our Lord JESUS CHRIST is also our shield in battle!

“Let all the earth fear [reverently fear] the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him” – Psalm 33:8.

And, we as soldiers for Christ SHOULD stand in awe of our Commander In Chief – the living Jesus Christ! And if we do, we certainly will witness to nations and provinces far greater than anything else.

“For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. 10) The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. 11) The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to ALL GENERATIONS. 12) Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance” – Psalm 33:9-12.

Truly, blessed are our fellow brethren around the world of whom God the Father has called out of this world – we who are within the living Church of Jesus Christ!

“The LORD looks from [the upper heavenly realms]; He sees all the sons of men. 14) From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; 15) He fashions their hearts INDIVIDUALLY; He considers all their works. 16) No king [president, prime minister, governor, emperor, etc.] is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. 17) A horse [a tank, a fighter jet, a military aircraft carrier, etc.] is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. 18) Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, 19) To deliver their soul [their life] from death, And to keep them alive in famine. 20) Our soul waits for the LORD; HE IS OUR HELP AND OUR SHIELD” – Psalm 33:13-20.

And as long as we are obeying Him and doing His will, we have NOTHING to fear in any battle. And we will be victorious!

“The angel 2 of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them” – Psalm 34:7.

Again, as long as we are obeying God and doing His will – the “Captain of our salvation” – His mighty angels will protect us!

We Must Endure Unto the End!

Our Lord Jesus Christ encourages us – ’ These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, AND CAME TO LIFE: 9) ‘I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews [the chosen ones] and are NOT, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10) DO NOT fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison 3 …’

It's interesting to note that the Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary writes in connection with the word “prison” –
“the accuser.” He acted, through Jewish accusers against Christ and His people. The conflict of the latter was not with mere flesh and blood, but with the rulers of the darkness of this world. tried – with temptation by “the devil.” The same event is often both a temptation from the devil, and a trial from God – God sifting and winnowing the man to separate his chaff from His wheat, the devil sifting him in the hope that nothing but the chaff will be found in him.” 4
“ … ‘ that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days [a short period of time]. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life’ – Revelation 2:8-10.

“Put on the whole armor of God”

Turn to Ephesians 6:10 – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

What is the ‘power of His might’? It’s God’s Spirit residing in you. And not just a little thimble full – but having God’s Spirit flow through you like a river.

Verse 11 – “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” – the tricky stunts that Satan performs upon people – you need to be aware that if you are not careful you can be tricked. Satan is not a real nice guy! Satan disguises himself. We’re told that he can appear as ‘an angel of light.’ And we’re also told that his so-called ministers – who claim to be ministers of Jesus Christ – in the end, are indeed ministers of Satan the devil. And they can appear as ‘ministers of righteousness.’ That’s what the Word of God says.

Our physical and spiritual enemy – Satan the devil – is like a deranged commander of a mighty army, who is plotting the utter destruction of his enemies – in this case, you and me! He launches blitzkrieg attacks so swiftly and cunningly, that it will more than often catch you completely off guard.

One plan of his attack against us is inspiring doubt and discouragement among God’s soldiers. About God, about His leaders, about our calling, the hope of the resurrection and eternal life – so strongly that it weakens our faith in God and His promises.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with TRUTH, having put on the BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15) and having shod your feet with the PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16) above all, TAKING THE SHIELD OF FAITH with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Verse 17 – “And take the HELMET OF SALVATION, and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the world of God; 18) PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION IN THE SPIRIT, BEING WATCHFUL to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” – Ephesians 6:14-18.

God has fastened to our loins His TRUTH, let us NEVER unfasten His TRUTH!

So, without His TRUTH to protect us, our carnal mind – which is naturally hostile against God – begins to agree that the weight of His armor protecting us is just too heavy (we begin to be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of [their] deceitful plotting (Ephesians 4:14) and we take off God’s breastplate of righteousness.

Without His TRUTH to protect us, and without His breastplate of righteousness, we are a soldier now stripped bare – unprotected. Stepping off the FOUNDATION OF THE GOSPEL we drop to the ground “the elementary principles of Christ” – the foundation of repentance from dead works and of the faith toward God, proper baptism, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Sadly, we begin to listen to “every spirit,” not testing the spirits to see whether they are of God.

God’s soldier throws down His shield of faith – and is now completely unprotected from “the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

And, it’s important to be reminded of what the Apostle Paul says – inspired by the very Spirit of God –

“For it is IMPOSSIBLE for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5) and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6) IF THEY FALL AWAY, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify Him again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame” – Hebrews 6:4-6.

Brethren, let us NEVER fall away! Let us not be misled by this “angel of light,” or his “ministers of righteousness” – 2 Corinthians 11:14.

Let us make certain that God’s whole armor is fastened tightly around our bodies and our life! And through our constant prayers and supplication IN THE SPIRIT (John 4:23-24), always WATCHFUL – “Therefore HUMBLE yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7) casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8) BE SOBER, BE VIGILANT; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9) Resist him, STEADFAST IN THE FAITH, …” – 1 Peter 5:6-8, 9.

For the LORD God will grant us THEIR LIVING FAITH, as we humbly and boldly say, “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”


1) Coulter R. F., The Holy Bible In Its Original Order A New English Translation, Jehovah Elohim in Genesis 3:22, York Publishing Co., © 2009, pg. 1360.
2) mal ´ āk, angel, a supernatural representative of God, sometimes delivering messages, sometimes protecting God’s people; the “angel of the LORD” sometimes shares divine characteristics and is sometimes thought to be a manifestation of God Himself, or the pre-incarnate Christ. #4397 In The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, pg. 1526.
3) PHULAKĒ – from phulassō, to guard, denotes (a) a watching, keeping watch. … See HOLD, WATCH. Vine, W.E., Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, CAGE, Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, published by United Kingdom Marshall, Morgan & Scott, Publications, Ltd., 1981, pg. 163.
4) Jamieson, R., Fausset, A.R., Brown, D., Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1982, pp 1533.

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