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JANUARY 8 2017 THE SATANIC ATTACK ON THE FAMILY

The Satanic Attack on the Family

 

What is the greatest battle in history? There have been some very important battles that have been chronicled. There is Waterloo. The Allied victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 brought an end to French domination of Europe and began a period of peace on the continent that lasted for nearly half a century. Waterloo forced Napoleon into exile, ended France's legacy of greatness, which it has never regained, etched its name on the list of history's best known battles, and added a phrase to the vernacular: "Waterloo" has come to mean decisive and complete defeat.

 

The Muslim Turks' unsuccessful siege of Vienna in 1529 marked the beginning of the long decline of their empire. It also stopped the advance of Islam into central and Western Europe, and ensured that the Christian rather than the Muslim religion and culture would dominate the region. If this battle had not been won all of Europe and, possibly, the entire world would be under the false and deadly system of Islam today.

In 1520, Suleiman II had become the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire, which reached from the Persian frontier to West Africa and included much of the Balkans. Suleiman had inherited the largest, best-trained army in the world, containing superior elements of infantry, cavalry, engineering, and artillery. At the heart of his army were elite legions of Janissaries, mercenary slaves taken captive as children from Christians and raised as Muslim soldiers. From his capital of Constantinople, the Turkish sultan immediately began making plans to expand his empire even farther.

Suleiman had also inherited a strong navy, which he used with his army to besiege the island fortress of Rhodes, his first conquest. Granting safe passage to the defenders in exchange for their surrender, the Sultan took control of Rhodes and much of the Mediterranean in 1522. This victory demonstrated that Suleiman would honor peace agreements. In following battles where enemies did not surrender peacefully, however, he displayed his displeasure by leveling cities, massacring the adult males, and selling the women and children into slavery.

By 1528, Suleiman had overtaken Hungary and placed his own puppet on their throne. All that now stood between the Muslims and Western Europe was Austria and its Spanish and French allies. Taking advantage of discord between his enemies, Suleiman made a secret alliance with King Francis I of France. Pope Clement VII in Rome, while not allying directly with the Muslim Sultan, withdrew religious and political support from the Austrians.

As a result, by the spring of 1529, King Charles and his Austrians stood alone to repel the Ottoman invaders. On April 10, Suleiman and his army of more than 120,000 accompanied by as many as 200,000 support personnel and camp followers, departed Constantinople for the Austrian capital of Vienna. Along the way, the huge army captured towns and raided the countryside for supplies and slaves.

 

The entire Austrian garrison numbered only about 20,000 soldiers supported by 72 cannons. The only reinforcements who arrived in the city were a detachment of 700 musket-armed infantrymen from Spain. They were outnumbered by more than 15-to-1 yet they repulsed the invaders and Europe remained under the sphere of Christian influence.

 

Francisco Pizarro conquered the largest amount of territory ever taken in a single battle when he defeated the Incan Empire at Cajamarca in 1532. Pizarro's victory opened the way for Spain to claim most of South America and its tremendous riches, as well as imprint the continent with its language, culture, and religion.

 

Pizarro set sail for South America in January 1531 with 265 soldiers and 65 horses. Most of the soldiers carried spears or swords. At least three had primitive muskets and twenty more carried crossbows.

Between wealth and glory stood an army of 30,000 Incas representing a century-old empire that extended 2,700 miles from modern Ecuador to Santiago, Chile. Pizzaro and his 265 men defeated an army of 3,000 in the first battle and took their king captive. Then he quickly took control of the entire kingdom. His victory is attributed to the fear the horses created, creatures the Incas had never seen before, and the three muskets which loudly brought death.

 

For the next three centuries, Spain ruled most of the north and Pacific coast of South America. Its language, culture, and religion still dominate there today.

 

The most horrible battle in history is the siege of Jerusalem between 67 and 70 AD by the Roman general Titus. The Jewish historian Josephus records the horrors that happened within the walls of Jerusalem when food ran out. That battle put an end to Israel for nearly 1,900 years.

 

But none of those are the greatest battle. The greatest battle is a spiritual one, an unseen one. Although it is spiritual, although you do not hear the sound of cannons or guns or airplanes, although many are unaware of it, it is a real battle. It is the battle between demonic forces that seek to keep the lost from finding Christ and to achieve the fall of those who belong to him.

 

We are in this battle whether we think we are or not. A Christian can try to remove themselves from the battle by refusing to participate in spreading the gospel and by trying to do as little as possible when it comes to the other works of God. But you are still in it. If a soldier were on the battlefield and he tried to keep out of the battle by just staying in his foxhole and keeping his head down, he is still in the battle! He is simply not doing anything to help his fellow soldiers! And, he is not safe! A grenade or a mortar can come land next to him and then he will die as many have.

 

We are all in a battle. We must recognize it and we must fight back. The aspect of the battle that I wish to address this morning is the one wherein the Devil and his forces seek the fall of those who belong to Jesus.

 

Our Scripture reading is Matthew 19:1-6.

 

After Jesus had taught in Galilee in the north he went to Judea to continue his ministry. Large crowds followed him there and he healed them. We, as his followers, need to follow in his steps. Jesus is no longer here in the flesh but, today, we are his hands and we are his feet. Hence, he has raised up some to teach and he has raised up some to heal. Jesus still cares about the sicknesses of people. Many can be healed and this healing can be accomplished by the Spirit of God in the laying on of hands as we see happened in the New Testament after Jesus’ ascension; or, more often, it can be realized by the practice of the medical arts – through the conduit of physicians and medical technology. Those who labor in medicine received their gift from God, even those who themselves do not know the Living God. Jesus is still teaching today through the church and he is still healing through the church and through hospitals. This is why so many hospitals have been begun by the church and carry the names of the apostles such as St Luke’s, St John’s and so forth.

 

In verse 3, Jesus is asked by the Pharisees, who were more numerous in Judea, whether divorce was lawful “for any cause.”  The Pharisees were divided among themselves on this question. One faction, the school of Hillel, followed their founder, Rabbi Hillel, in teaching that one could divorce for any reason. It was only necessary to obey Moses in writing a bill of divorcement and she could not be taken back as a wife if she had remarried. The other faction, the house of Shammai, followed the teachings of their founder, Rabbi Shammai, saying that the only cause for divorce was sexual misconduct. The Pharisees asked him this question not because they wanted to know the answer. They asked him this question to test him. They were schooled in the arguments for and against their respective positions and they wanted to see how much he knew.

 

Jesus answers their question and he comes down firmly on the side of Shammai. In his answer he reveals things about the nature of marriage, which is the bedrock and foundation of the family, which tell of its sanctity, importance, and durability. Because of its sanctity and importance the devil seeks to destroy marriages and even marriage itself. He knows that if he can weaken and destroy marriages then he can weaken and destroy whole communities and nations.

 

In verses 4 and 5, Jesus takes his listeners back to Genesis, to the beginning, and explains to them in verse 6 that God Himself is the one who instituted marriage. It is not a man-made covenant but a divine one.  He demonstrates the sanctity of marriage.  In verses 10-13 he would further show its importance by stating that his teaching is for everyone except eunuchs. In other words, if you are not a eunuch the teaching applies to you, whether you are a Christian or completely outside the household of faith.

 

Satan has been attacking marriage since Jesus’ day. But he has stepped up his attacks more recently. How has he done this?

 

[I] He has influenced the Western nations of the world to legitimize homosexual relationships. What did Jesus say in our passage? Jesus says in verse 5: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? [1]

 

A man shall leave his original family and be joined to his wife, not another man. Similarly, a woman shall leave her original family and be joined to her husband, not another woman. To have sexual relations with someone of the same sex is more than just an error. It is more than a violation of the law. It is an abomination according to God as he revealed his will to Moses in Leviticus 20:13. And, neither is it restricted to the OT. In Romans chapter 1 the apostle Paul under inspiration calls homosexual acts impure, dishonorable, shameless, and contrary to nature. They represent “vile affections” in the KJV.

 

Among the Western nations homosexual acts were criminal acts for a millennia until only recently. Satan has duped the nations into accepting abomination as normality. This is one of his attacks on the family.

 

[II] He has influenced the Western nations of the world to accept and even to promote so-called transgenderism. But Jesus clearly says in verse 4:

 

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, [2]

 

Jesus says that God made the human race in two sexes: male and female. The Bible over and over and over identifies the sex of children at their birth. What does this tell us? It tells us that we know what a sex of a person is at birth according to their biology. In other words, males have distinctive organs, as do females. A person’s biological sex is their actual sex. Science has made it even more certain in identifying a person’s biological sex when chromosomes in the cell are examined. All males have an X and a Y chromosome while females have two X chromosomes.

 

If a person has feelings or notions that are usually attributed to the opposite sex this is a perversion in their thinking in the same way that it would be that if a person thought they were a tiger or an ape. And there have been such persons who thought that too! To take on the identity of the opposite sex is an expression of rebellion against God and his created order. The remedy to transgender thoughts and feelings is not surgery but a supernatural rebirth. The Holy Spirit will set our minds and hearts aright. In I Corinthians 6:9 Paul refers to the “effeminate” (KJV, NASB) not being able to inherit the kingdom of God. The effeminate are men who act like women. He goes on to say that “such were some of you.” (vs. 11) Praise God, “were” is past tense! There were some who used to be effeminate but once they came to Christ in saving faith they were no longer! Christ is the remedy to transgenderism!

 

One of Satan’s strategies to attack the family is to get people thinking and feeling that they are a woman when they are a man and visa versa. This, too, is an abomination.

 

[III] Satan has influenced the nations to make divorce legal and easy. At one time divorce was either illegal altogether or very difficult to carry out. Over the last 70 years nation after nation has made it either legal or enacted laws to make divorce easier. The nations with a predominance of Roman Catholic population were the last ones to succumb to the will of man. Despite the many failings of the Catholic Church in areas of faith, they have a high regard for marriage as a divine covenant. And so, between 1977 and 1991 Spain and a host of other Latin American countries made divorce legal. Then Andorra in 1995 (the nation with both the longest life expectancy on earth and the highest literacy rate in the world), Ireland in 1996, Chile in 2004, and Malta in 2011 (the best country to retire in the world according to the London Telegraph). Now, the only two countries left where divorce is still illegal is the Philippines and Vatican City.

 

In the United States marriage laws are determined by each state. Divorce was always available but fault had to be proven in court. Then in 1970 California (no surprise) passed the first No-Fault divorce law. Not long afterward, all other states followed. This weakens the moral foundation of any nation and it has ours.

 

The latest figures for the rate of divorce in the U.S. are not as dismal as some have projected. It was never true that 50% of marriages end in divorce – a figure bandied about for a while. It was true that in the 1970’s and 80’s the divorce rate was somewhere a little above 40%, the most recent statistics place the rate of divorce at a little below 40%. Of course, that is still much too high.

 

How does the church fare? Among evangelical Protestants who attend church regularly the divorce rate is 35% less than the general population.[3] That would put it at roughly 25%. Sounds better, but one out of four is still sad and disappointing and tells us something is wrong among God’s children. It tells us that Satan’s strategy to divide the family is working to a great extent.

 

[IV] The reasons that people give for getting a divorce tell us quite a bit about the real reason for divorce and reveal Satan’s strategy. These are the top reasons given by the victims of divorce:

 

  1. “lack of commitment” (73% said this was the major reason) What does this reveal? It shows that from the couple that each take the marriage vow – make a promise to love and support the other – at least one breaks their vow. Put simply, at least one is not true to their word.  Why is that? As we go through these reasons we will see why.
  2. “too much disagreement” (56% gave this as a reason) And, the major point of disagreement? How to spend money! News flash: if you are a human being you will disagree with other human beings…all the time!
  3. One spouse committed adultery. (55%)
  4. “unrealistic expectations” (45%)
  5. “lack of equality” (44%)
  6. “lack of preparation” (41%)
  7. “abuse” (29%)

 

What do each one of these seven reasons have in common? The answer is selfishness.

 

  • Why would one spouse not stay true to their promise to love and support the other? Because they deem it to be too much trouble or too much effort and they would rather spend their time and energy on themselves.[4]
  • Why would couples disagree about how to spend money? Because at least one (possibly both) want to spend it on themselves.
  • Why abuse? Because one spouse, usually the husband sad to say, is angry because he or she did not get what they wanted.

 

Selfishness is the basic sin that underlies all marital problems. And, if there is one thing that devil knows all about it is selfishness. The exaltation of self is what cast him out of heaven and he is adept at influencing people, including the children of God, to make their decisions revolve around themselves. “I am not fulfilled.” “I am not happy.” “I am not this…I am not that.”

 

But God says, “Love does not insist on its own way.” (I Cor 13:5)

 

I received a telephone call last week from a friend who is a faithful brother in the Lord living in Illinois. He asked for prayer. He has been a faithful husband and a good father. This couple has eight children all of whom, because this brother taught them well, are walking with the Lord and are successful in life – either in their jobs or in their academics. Most have “left the nest” but some were still at home. This family has a sterling reputation in the community in which they live and they were active in a Bible-believing church. Everything was ideal about this family, or nearly so, except for one thing. They had financial struggles through a good portion of their marriage. So much so that they had the utilities turned off several times. This brother had a good job but it did not pay much and the wife home-schooled the children through their early years and they all later would enter public school. A one-income family with ten members is not usually able to get too far with respect to having money.

 

This brother is described in Proverbs 19:1 – a man of integrity that is poor. He was a man of integrity and faithful.

 

About one year ago they met a couple that claimed to be Christians. They were millionaires. That didn’t bother this brother. All people were the same to him. Unbeknownst to him the wife of this other couple began talking his wife into leaving him because, in her view, he wasn’t providing for her well enough. Of course, food was always on the table, the bills eventually all got paid along the way, and even the mortgage of their small, crowded house was up to date and only four months from being full paid.

 

This wealthy couple promised to buy this brother’s wife her own house if she would leave her husband. So, she did. No infidelity, no abuse of any kind. Nothing more than dissatisfaction. This, brothers and sisters, is a sad example of Satan deceiving supposed followers of the Lord with the deceptiveness of riches so that the family becomes divided. It all comes back to selfishness.  Self. Self. Self. “It’s all about me, don’t you know?”

 

[V. Application and Conclusion] We have seen the strategies that the devil uses to divide and destroy the family. What ought we to do?

 

[A.] First, for those who have fallen into any of these sins, whether it is homosexuality, confusion of identity, or divorce, you must know that there is forgiveness. The Lord has made a way to both be free from the sin and to be cleansed. He receives all those without reservation who come to Him in repentance (that means turning away from sin with resolve and with the power of the Spirit) and faith (that means trusting in the Lord Jesus). You can be free and forgiven!

 

[B.] Second, we must be on guard against these attacks both in our communities and, especially, in our families. For married couples, the best way to inoculate themselves is to be aware of self-centeredness in one’s own heart. Put your wife or husband’s needs and wants above your own. There will usually be an imbalance. One will put the other’s needs and wants above theirs more so than their spouse does. That is just the way married life is. We don’t live in a fairy tale. We live in the real world. We must not succumb to the thought, “Well, if they are not doing it then I’m not going to do it.”

 

Let yourself be faithful to your vows and allow the patience of God to work its way into their life.

 

Yes, there is a battle going on and the consequences are greater than military battles. The battle for marriage and family is raging and you are in it. The question is: which side are you on?

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 19:5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 19:4). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/february/marriage-divorce-and-body-of-christ-what-do-stats-say-and-c.html

[4] Some might say they wish to devote their time and energy to their children. However, it is a proven fact that children thrive far better when they have two parents who remain together and exhibit love to one another. In fact, this may be the prime factor for the thriving of children. Further, such a devotion is not mutually exclusive with devotion to one’s spouse.