Veteran's of Spiritual Warfare
THE ORIGINS OF VETERANS DAY
Today we celebrate Veteran’s day – the day set aside to honor all who have served their country in the military.
In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, became the focal point of reverence for America’s veterans.
Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation’s highest place of honor... These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as "Armistice Day"....
Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of WW II and Korea, Congress was requested to make this day an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day....
A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date....
I would like all of military people to stand as we thank you for your service. Thank you for this life I am able to live. You are truly heroes in my eyes. You have served to keep us free and to keep the enemy from invading our territory. You have protected even those who ridicule you and abuse you and you did it because it was your duty.
SO thank you, You may be seated. At this time, I would like to invite one of our own to come a share a few words about this special day of remembrance, he is a veteran himself in many regards, a true advocate and voice for veteran’s and their families, Jim Defoor.
BEGINNING OF SERMON
I want to celebrate this day also as a day we can set aside for those who are not VFW -veterans of foreign wars - but are VSW – Veterans of Spiritual Warfare. Regardless of how long you have been a servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are a veteran in many regards in the battle we all face in this world, for it is a spiritual battle.
We are in a constant state of battle. The apostle Paul encouraged us to “Pray without ceasing”. Because the enemy is relentless in his attack on God’s people we have to be willing to join the fight for ourselves and for the lives of others.
Eph. 6 Paul instructs us to be strong, to stand firm against our enemy the devil and by clothing ourselves with the armor of God.
As veteran’s in God’s army we must be reminded of the following...
1. Remember where your strength comes from. (vs. 10)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
In the unchanging, unending power of the Lord - “be strong in the Lord”
What is the source of strength and stability in your life? If it is anything but the Lord, then you are walking on unsteady ground. The Lord is the only person in your life that never changes.
In the hand that will not let me go – “in the power of his might”
This phrase could be very loosely translated, “In the grip of his hand.”
We don’t have a hold on God. He has a hold on us.
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
2. Remember why you are fighting. (vs. 11)
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Because you will fall if you don’t fight – “so that . . . stand”
Because the enemy is tricky – “against the wiles of the devil”
3. Remember who your enemy is. (vs. 12)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Paul describes the battle as a “struggle”. The word which he uses here actually refers to wrestling.
Now, he’s not talking about the WWF kind of wrestling where you bash the other guy’s head in with a chair or where you jump down off the ropes onto the guy’s chest. He’s talking about the kind that you see in a high school or college gymnasium. The kind where two guys are entwined with one another and are trying every kind of move that they can think of to pin the other guy to the ground. It’s the kind of battle where you have extremely close contact with one another.
Not people – “not flesh and blood”
Paul had just finished talking about husbands and wives, children and their parents, employers and their employees. It’s easy for each of these categories of people to fight with one another.
You are not my enemy. We may be mad with one another about something, but that does not mean that we are enemies. We are brothers and sisters. We are family. We need each other.
It is because we need each other that God gave the command for us to not forsake the gathering of ourselves with one another. Loving one another, edifying one another by building one another up in Christ. It is the ministry we have all been called to be apart of.
The enemy then is not with each other, but with spiritual forces.
– “against the rulers in the heavenly realms”
- They have power and authority; don’t treat them lightly
Though they have a lot of authority, they don’t have all authority.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Since Jesus has all authority, He has the right to command us what to do, and we have the responsibility to obey. His command to us is this: (Mat 28:19-20)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Do you know what He is telling us to do? He is telling us to invade the enemy’s stronghold. That’s dangerous – or at least it would be if we didn’t have the assurance that we were going to win and if we didn’t have the One who has all authority on our side.
- They are evil, and their goal is to spread evil
- They are spiritual, so they must be fought with spiritual weapons
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
4. Remember how you can win the battle. (vs. 13)
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
You win the battle by...
Put on the whole armor – you can’t pick and choose
I want to ask you a strange question, but bare with me the question has a point.
How many of you would walk out of your house without any clothes on? I don’t believe anyone of you would do such a thing. In fact, its a frighting thought to even consider such a crazy thing.
So let me ask you this,
“How many of you walk out of the house every morning without your spiritual clothing on?” That’s just as foolish, and just as dangerous and just as crazy. You have to put it on. All of it.
You have put on all of it.
So let read together what the armor of God is as a reminder to us...
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Waist of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Feet of the Gospel of Peace
Shield of Faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit - Word of God