NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE

Gregory C. Magruder     Parkview Baptist       Gainesville, FL      1/01/17
 
Fighting for the Soul of the Church
Ephesians 6:10-20
 
INTRODUCTION:  As a result of recent encounters, I am convinced that spiritual forces are at play and our vision and ministries as a church are being challenged like I have never experienced before. As we enter 2017, we as a church have to reaffirm our vision, reassess our ministries, and renew our commitment to tell others about Jesus and his saving grace. We will need the power and protection of God to stand against the devil and fulfill God’s purposes for us.
 
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.
 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:10-11).
 
  • We need the power of God and the armor of God to fight the devil.
  • The devil has crafty methods and strategies he uses to attack.
 
THE BATTLE IS SPIRITUAL.
 
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 (Eph. 6:12).
 
  • It is easy to be tricked into thinking our battle is against other people. This mistake leads to judgment, anger and hatred toward people we encounter. People do bad things but what is the source of their evil?
  • There are invisible forces at work in the world around us. Satan and his demons are actively trying to destroy God’s people and disrupt God’s plans.
  • The battle has to be fought spiritually not just physically.
 
GOD’S POWER AND PROTECTION DEFEND FROM EVIL.

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 (Eph. 6:13).
 
  • We need to put on the armor of God constantly and consistently.
  • Evil will come. Be ready to stand up to it and to keep on standing no matter how fierce the battle becomes.
 
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:14-17).
 
  • Stand against the enemy wearing the full armor of God:
  1. Truth exposes the devil’s lies and deceptions.
  2. Righteousness confirms the Christian’s witness.
  3. The peace of God makes us ready to share the gospel.
  4. Faith shields us from the attacks and fears of the devil.
  5. Salvation assures us of God’s love and presence.
  6. The word of God brings salvation to those who hear it and are given new life by the Holy Spirit.
 
OUR PERSEVERANCE AND PRAYER DEFEAT THE ENEMY.
 
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should (Eph. 6:18-20).
 
  • Pray all kinds of prayers in all kinds of places for all people.
  • Pray for boldness to proclaim the good news of salvation.
  • The best offense against the devil is winning souls for Jesus.
  • Join us for Parkview Dreams and Mission 2017.

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