Cross and Flame - Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame).

COURTING THE ENEMY

John 10:1-10; Judges 16; Hebrews 11:32

Courting the enemy is perhaps a strange sermon title for communion Sunday but I am reminded too often that sometimes we go through the routine and fail to acknowledge the sacredness of the act itself.  It has little impact on us.  It is merely first Sunday again.

As I read our Scripture lesson, I saw that “HOW’ the sheep enter the sheep gate reveals who they are.  Do they come in through the door or do they find other ways to get into the pen?  These outsiders do not hear or answer the call of the great Shepherd and do not follow Him.  The great Shepherd does not call them by name.  But those who enter in through the gate, the door, are recognized by the Shepherd.  What are you saying Pastor Minor?

The ones who come in any other way than through Jesus are considered thieves whose purpose it is to kill, steal and destroy.  They do not come in to be your friend, they come to destroy you.  Is it because we abide in the natural that we forget the spiritual side to our lives?   We have an enemy and part of what he takes is your ability to reap the blessings that are rightfully yours through Christ Jesus.

There is a little story about a chicken and a fox.  The chicken was returning from a town council meeting and ran upon the fox in the road.  The chicken knew that the fox was going to eat her and was trying to figure out what to do.

The fox struck up a conversation immediately but the chicken was reluctant to engage in conversation.  The fox sensing the chicken’s fear spoke up and promised the chicken that he only wanted to hear about the town council meeting.  Even though they were enemies, he was not going to eat her.  The chicken began to talk and became more comfortable with the fox.

They traveled for a distance and the fox then turned and jumped on the chicken taking her by surprise.  She began to fight for her life and managed to ask the fox why was he doing this?  He answered, “I’m a fox and I eat chickens.”  End of story.

Your enemy is your enemy, I do not care how you dress it up.  You can be deceived into thinking that you don’t have to do what the Bible says; that doing good for others is enough; and coming to church means you are going to get to heaven.  The fact of the matter is, the devil is still our adversary and seeks to bring as many of us who would follow him down to his level.  He knows his plight and he wants to share that plight with us.

Jesus knows who you are and gave His life that you might not have to continue in bondage to sin and eternal death.  This is what communion is all about.  He gave you a way to break free of this mess.  He knows you by name and wants you to be with him after this earthly life has passed away.  My question is, “Why do we court the enemy and call on God when we get bitten?”

We run through this passage and somehow miss what Jesus is saying.  He sends the warning, but somehow, we think we don’t have to receive His call to salvation until we get to the end of our earthly existence.  Waiting until the last minute denies you of all the good God has in store for you.  We want to do church for our weddings, baptisms, Sunday School, and worship but that’s it until the next Sunday or religious event.  This is a trap of the enemy’s.  Jesus speaks and gives us a word of wisdom, a warning, and most of all, a truth that cannot be denied.  The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

When we choose to neglect Jesus, and play with the enemy, we are asking for trouble.  What is the adage? “When you play with fire, you will get burned”.

Last week’s sermon posed the question: “Would there be enough evidence to find you guilty of being a Christian?”  I want to rephrase that question for today’s sermon.  “Is there enough evidence to find you guilty as a faithful church-goer, but not guilty as a follower of Christ?”

Not fair, Pastor Minor.  Oh, yes.  Very fair.  Some are playing Christian by acting as if your name on the roll is enough to get you into heaven.  Be not deceived, Jesus will not be mocked.  He knows your heart and your actions too often betray you.  If you are walking as a Christian, your faith and works ought to line up sometime.  A great judgment is coming and He does not want us to be caught in the aftermath.  He wants us safe and sound in His arms.

You might know the story of Samson and Delilah.  It is a crushing story and very painful.  A mighty judge of Israel, falls for a woman of the very tribe which is an enemy to his country.  He had already had one wife and made enemies of her family when he went in and killed her brother and father because they deceived him.  As if this wasn’t enough, he goes into the arms of Delilah and she is offered money to reveal the government the secret of his strength.  Of course, it was his hair.  After three times of mocking her by giving her the wrong answer, she began to nag Samson until he told her and then she sold him out.

I want to warn you that playing Christian comes with a great cost.  The enemy of God, the devil, the Adversary, walks to and fro looking for whom he might devour.  He is looking for any one of us who is shortchanging God by testing the waters or pushing the envelope on our Christian beliefs.  He will push and push until you turn against God.  He will have you to cower under the hard things of life and run from the very One who can help you.

How does the devil push you out of the will of God and into his arms of death and destruction?  How do we court him? Let me give you a few ways.

  • We don’t know the Word and thus we fail to obey it (Titus 2:1)
    • You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
  • We don’t walk by faith (Hebrews 11:6)
    • Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.
  • We don’t study (2 Timothy 2:15)
    • Study to show yourselves approved, a workman that need not be ashamed but rightfully dividing the word of truth.
  • We don’t pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
    • Pray without ceasing.
  • We don’t honor God in our financial giving to the church (Malachi 3:8-10)
    • Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.  But you ask, “How do we rob you?  In tithes and offerings…Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessings that you will not have room enough for it. 

We must attend to the doctrines of God, receive His Son Jesus, and blessed Holy Spirit who is the true teacher of things on earth and in heaven.  Then we will begin to walk into the blessings of God.

A dear price has been paid for you to live an abundant life in Christ Jesus.  Stop courting the devil and bless the Lord who gives us only good things.