Week Five, Conclusions: What is My Life’s Work?

Scriptural Text

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

1 Timothy 1:18 – 2:2 this charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
2: ​1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way
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2 Timothy 2:1-4 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Exposition: The Church Militant

Biblical Ministry Plan?

Many churches are failing or technically ‘dead’ in America today.  “The singular, focused cause of these churches seems to be the glory of God; their theology and teaching gifts seem exceptional; they are in communities that give evidence of being “ripe unto harvest.” Yet for some reason these churches fail to effectively reap that harvest. Time and again the evidence is that this fruitlessness is linked to a failure to develop and implement an effective ministry plan. Yet, even so, a transforming church is the by-product of the power of the gospel, not of outstanding ministry planning. But the two should never be seen to be mutually exclusive of one another. Every aspect of a ministry plan must be driven by the gospel. Every plan and decision should be made so as to better proclaim and live out the gospel. That’s an intentional church that transforms lives.”  –Pope, Randy. The Intentional Church: Moving from Church Success to Community Transformation Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

“There are three distinct groups of people belonging to the elect church of God, though in the end they shall all be gathered in one in Christ.

The ‘church militant’: all the elect on earth at any particular time in history,

The ‘church triumphant’: all the elect who have fought the good fight, finished their course, and gone to glory, and

The ‘church latent’: all the elect who are yet to be born and/or brought to repentance and faith.

Full Armor of God

The church on earth is rightly called the church militant – fighting. She is described in Scripture as a mighty army. Her calling is warfare, her members are to put on the armor of God, Christ is the Captain of her salvation.

Militant means, however, she is not just ready to fight. But that she is always engaged in warfare. That is her whole calling and her whole life. And, as Scripture suggests, the battle is not over until we leave this life and go to be with Christ in glory. She is not the church military, but the church militant. Not the church defiant, but the church humble and meek. But her warfare is  not merely defensive. The church and her members are called to take the battle into the territory and camp of the enemy – to take the offensive. Surely this is what the Word means in our passage from 2 Corinthians 10.

“…to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

The passage also suggests, that battle is spiritual. The enemies, the weapons, the warfare itself are all spiritual. This does not, however, make the struggle any less real nor less difficult.

The enemies are Satan, the world, and our own sinful flesh – sin and temptation in all their addictive guises and wherever they are found, even in ourselves. The weapons are not the weapons of this world. That battle cannot be fought with political, social, economic or military might. It is fought by faith and the Word of God.

1 John 5:4-5 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

It is a battle for the minds and souls of men – a battle against false ideas and heresies, as well as against wickedness and temptation. It is a battle against everything unfriendly to God and to the knowledge of God!

More than Conquerors

In that battle, however, we do not fight for the victory. We fight in it as those who already have it through the suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! But we must fight.” Rev. Ronald Hanko

Application

Is your church ministry planned?  Is your church ministry plan a ‘game plan’ or a ‘battle plan’?  Is your church intentionally engaging in the battle to move ahead and enact transformational change in one another and your community?  Are you fighting like a Christian, or playing church? …going through the motions, or creating a movement? …contentedly coasting along in the back of the lines, or engaged at the point of battle?  …holding each other’s hand to the grave, or going out like a troop to win battles?  Making disciples, or just soaking grace inward?

All of us are unduly affected by the entertainment-based culture of our day.  We recognize the seemingly unethical disparity that people who play games for a living get paid more than soldiers, teachers, or pastors.  We recognize the similar paradox that actors, who only imitate real people are honored with incomes that far exceed the real people they portray.  However, our addiction to entertainment may still cause us to never miss a game or the latest popular movie release, while corporate prayer and worship is often neglected.  Americans have become professional spectators, and Christians are unfortunately for the most part no different. We Christians hide or ignore our ethical dilemma and carry it well.  The problem is, warfare is not a spectator sport; it is a complete, all-out fight until all quadrants are taken and the gates of hell are shaken. Spiritual warfare is the exact, true, biblical posture of the church.  The church is not for entertainment and Christians are not to be spectators.

The transformational church moves prayerfully forward on its knees, all hands engaged in the ongoing prayer battle against her many adversaries, resisting the onslaught of the enemy, and taking ground for the glory of our King.  Our life work is not temporal, not our family, profession, job, or business. Those things are important but diminished in light of eternity. Our life work in battle-prayer will yield eternal dividends for the glory of our Captain.   Prayer warriors are God’s unstoppable ‘special forces’.

“We are not here to enjoy ourselves but to be soldiers.” Rev. Ronald Hanko

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