"Survive or Advance?"
TEXTS: Ephesians 6:12; James 4:1-7; Luke 10:38-42
1. Corporate worship equips and prepares every believer to stay faithful to the mission of God despite the personal difficulties and suffering they may be experiencing. Every believer will find themselves in need of encouragement as they face the world, their flesh, and the devil.
2. It is tempting to look at people whom we disagree with and make them the enemy. Although the powers of darkness use the material world and people, that does not mean they are our enemy--they are simply being used. Instead of looking outward to identify our enemies, we need to focus inward. The battle each believer faces primarily happens in our minds, hearts, affections, and emotions. The world, our flesh, and the devil (James 4:1-7) are trying to deceive us into spending our passion on something other than advancing the Kingdom of God.
3. The world refers to ideologies, lies, and broken worldviews that permeate the cultures of the earth. These fallen concepts lead people away from their Creator. Our flesh refers to humanity’s brokenness. Not only is the world broken, but we are broken as well. Every believer has to wrestle an intense (at times) desire to sin. The devil is a fallen angel, who opposed God, was cast down to earth, and seeks to destroy those made in the image of God.
4. Jesus rebukes Martha for her treatment of her sister Mary. Martha lost focus of what was really important--hearing and receiving truth from Jesus. This illustrates how quickly and easily we can lose focus on the Kingdom of God and, as a result, become more passionate about things other than God’s Kingdom. The moment our good works become more important than our worship, we have given up ground in the battle with our enemies.
5. If we focus our passion on the wrong things, we will lose ground in the battle with our enemies. It is tempting to just want to be right while pointing out where others are wrong (like Martha). Fighting to be right--rather than seeking to advance God’s Kingdom--causes us to misidentify who our enemies are.
6. The Bible calls us to be on the offensive when advancing the Kingdom of God. But this doesn’t happen frequently because we are often too focused on fighting the wrong battles and enemies. If you are a believer and you are not passionate about advancing God’s Kingdom, you are positioning yourself to be defeated and overtaken by the world, your flesh, and the devil.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. How does corporate worship help and equip you to face the battle that the world, your flesh, and the devil present you with?
2. How does the world, our flesh, and the devil fight against believers? Can you give examples of how each enemy opposes believers? How does it practically work?
3. What does it look like and mean to be on the ‘offensive’ when advancing the Kingdom of God?
4. What are some of the things that believers are being tempted to give their passion to (as 21st Century Americans)?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following area(s):
- That we identify our enemies correctly
- For passion and empowerment to advance the Kingdom of God