Message Recap - 7/30/10 - Fight! Part 3

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We are in the first few weeks of a new series called Fight! We've been talking about fighting with the wrong weapons or the wrong war. You can check out previous messages in the series here:

Part 1

Part 2

The theme verse for this series is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: 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.

The war that we're fighting starts inside; in our own minds, hearts, spirits, ideas and moments of doubt. Those are the major battles. We have to learn how demolish the arguments that come from within. Arguments like, “God isn't real. Jesus doesn't love you, you've never going to amount to anything.” You have to learn to fight against and demolish those things before you can move on to external battles. The fight starts within ourselves.

We've already talked about some wrong weapons to fight with (logic, reason, willpower), and a right weapon: Surrender. The Cross is our greatest weapon against darkness. Now we'll look at another right weapon.

Sometimes we don't realize that our weapons are weapons; they don't look like weapons. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus says: "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Love is a weapon. And a battlefield, but that's a whole other story. Love as a weapon doesn't seem like a weapon. Especially if you're trying to fight against people. But we're fighting against spiritual principalities, not people! You will always have enemies – someone who you don't get along with, who just rubs you the wrong way.

The saying Jesus mentions, “Love your neighbor, hate your enemies,” is not outdated; people still say it today. For instance, any current action movie send the same message.

And guess what? Most people follow it. But if you want to change the world, you have to do something different that what the world does! You can make a difference if you don't follow the world's formula. Love can change the world! It sounds cheesy, like some romantic comedy, but we're not talking about that kind of love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 gives a description of the love we're talking about.

The biggest problem with that whole definition of love is that... well, it's impossible! We can never attain that – we fail!

Luckily for us, the love doesn't have to come from us. It's a gift from God. Even though it's impossible in our own effort, God gives us the gift of loving people beyond our ability! Check

out 2 Timothy 1:6-7: For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Fear doesn't come from God. Timidity doesn't come from God. But He has given us a spirit of love! God wants to give you the kind of love that 1 Corinthians 13 talks about. The kind of love that's impossible for us – that's patient, kind, never proud, etc, etc. It's only possible through Christ.

When we hear the word love the wrong impression can come to mind. We think of romantic love – a mushy card on Valentine's day. But that kind of love won't change the world. Or we think of brotherly love – football team camaraderie. But that won't change the world either.

We have to understand what real love is because Christ's Love fights! When He healed the sick, it was out of Love. When He taught the crowds, it was out of Love. When He blessed the children, it was out of Love. When He rebuked Peter – Love. When He drove out the money changers in the temple – Love. He said some really blunt things to the Pharisees – out of Love! Some of those things are not what we think of as love.

Christ's Love is a love that puts others first, no matter what. There are a lot of misunderstandings about what friendship really is. When a friend tells you she is thinking of committing suicide, you don't support her in the decision – you tell her parents, a teacher, anyone who can help her. You stop her from going through with it! Love isn't afraid to make a tough decision, to ask a tough question! Christ's Love stands for truth while it's laying down its life. True Love doesn't just enable sin; Love lays down its life and speaks the truth into people's lives. It's not weak or wishy-washy, it's not merely “tough love” like Dr. Phil. It's love that puts others first in every way and stands up for the truth, for what's right, for what's Godly.

That kind of love fights! It demolishes strongholds and arguments and takes every thought captive.

Galatians 5:22-25 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Living in love starts with surrender to Christ. It starts with crucifying our passions and desires and receiving the Love of Christ. It's the only way to get His love in you! It's not just a one time thing – each time we surrender we are re-equipped with Christ's Love!

Fight with Love!

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