I like stereotypical movies about war. (SUPRISE!!!)
I love Braveheart, I love Gladiator, I love 300, I love almost all of them, even when the Tomatometer drops below 60%.
I remember a certain scene in the 300 film that has always stuck with me. King Leonidas is marching off to face an army of Persians and is vastly outnumbered, by a factor of at least 50. Even with the "correct" historical numbers, which are estimates anyway, Leonidas and the other Greeks that eventually joined, were in a desperate situation.
The king of the Spartans meets an old friend and his army along the way, the leader of the Akkadians, another Grecian people. His friend is sorely disappointed to see that only 300 of them have mustered in order to face the Persians.
The Akkadian leader says in so many words, "only this handful of soldiers against Xerxes great army, I thought you would have brought more soldiers?" Leonidas responds,
He goes on to ask one soldier in the Akkadian army, "What is your profession?"
The Soldier responds, almost quaking, "A potter, sir"
He asks another the same question, the response, "A sculptor."
Leonidas then turns to his army, "SPARTAN, WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSION?!?!"
The army responds in chorus with more than words, raising their spears to the sky in unison and in defiance, " Ahhhhuuuu, Ahhhhuuuu, Ahhhhuuuuu!!!!!"
Leonidas then responds calmly, "You see my old friend, I brought more soldiers than you did".
Something has been lost in the Christian faith. We gather, we preach practical tips on life, we worship to the best music we've ever put out; but we have forgotten how to go to war.
Think of it this way. What is the first conversation that you have with someone when they have made a decision to follow Christ and make him their Lord? Is it informing them that they have joined a war, under the Lordship of an undefeatable King who rose from the dead? That there will be resistance now that they have joined them? That you have been reborn, yet into a war? Do we remind them that I am with you in this fight, and Jesus, he'll never leave you? Do we teach them how to wield their faith and the word of God to effectively rout the Kingdom of Darkness?
In so many instances, this is not the case. We keep them in camp, preparing them, and preparing them, and preparing them, all the while a war is raging for the lost souls of this world, and they have the secret weapon. The revelation of Jesus the Messiah.
We can no longer gather in camps, in our separate tents, devoid of unity and the power of God that makes his glory our purpose. The King shouts, "To WAR, To WAR!!! Save my lost children, I have put my very Spirit in you to cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead." Yet we gather again, in tents we've erected with our own hands, when God calls us to the open field of battle, to assured victory, even in our own death.
Am I guilty of this? Yes. Of course, I am. This is why I am making this public.
SALT Churches is off to war.
Currently, we are certainly few, but my purpose and vision are to bring soldiers to the fight. Men and women discipled for battle. Their shields of faith raised, assured in their salvation, wielding the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, righteous in heart, and running on the power of the gospel towards the fray.
Just look at the Apostles, how often they made the point that we are at war.
"Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor. 10:3-5
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. 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. 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. 6:11-17
"In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Rom. 8:37
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 15:57
And our Lord...
"Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” Luke 10:19
“,,,On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18
What do gates do? They defend. Gates don't go running around battering the opposing army. What Jesus is saying is that we are an OFFENSIVE force, that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against us. We are to take ground and do it on based on the knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, Lord of Heaven and Earth.
Let me propose a question, what would your life look like if you left camp?
You don't need many soldiers, you just need real ones. What are we fighting for? First, for his glory. Second, for his lost sons and daughters, for freedom. For it is for freedom, that Christ has set us free, and not just for our own.
Have you ever wondered why things go awry in your life? Have you ever wondered why now? Why me? What is happening?
You are at war Christian, and (and to quote a very cool movie king) "war is upon you, whether you would have it or not."
Hell is terrified of you. Hell is terrified of the church united an under the banner of their King. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to him, THEREFORE, go and make disciples.
I commit today to be a peaceMAKER, not a peacekeeper, to be a disciple and a saint. For there to be victory, there must be war.
I'll leave you with an old hymn, it speaks to our times and to a martial spirit we have unfortunately forgotten.
Onward, Christian soldier....
Onward Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before.
Christ, the royal Master,
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See, His banners go!
Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus,
Going on before.
At the name of Jesus
Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers,
On to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver
At the shout of praise:
Brothers, lift your voices,
Loud your anthems raise!
Like a mighty army
Moves the Church of God:
Brothers, we are treading
Where the saints have trod;
We are not divided,
All one Body we—
One in faith and Spirit,
Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane;
But the Church of Jesus
Constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never
’Gainst the Church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise,
Which can never fail.
Onward, then, ye people!
Join our happy throng;
Blend with ours your voices
In the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor
Unto Christ, the King;
This through countless ages
Men and angels sing.