Monday, June 29, 2009

Mopping Up The Battlefield Of Our Mind (Transcript/Notes)

2 Cor. 10:4,5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

We want to look particularly at that last part of the passage, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”

But first let’s look a little closer at the first part of this passage.

We won’t go into a great deal about the first part of the passage today, but it’s important. The picture God is painting here is one of storming and conquering a fortress, or castle. There are a lot of aspects to this, like our spiritual armor, prayer, the Word of God itself, faith, and so forth. But the most important thing in this raiding of the Castle of Evil is the Gospel itself.

Where's The Power?

We are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God for salvation to those who believe. (Rom 1:16). Did you get that? Don’t take this lightly. Do you know that you will never really change a person in the core of their being?

You may clean them up and make them look better and make them a better businessman or public speaker, or more successful, or more powerful personally or politically, but may I ask the question the Scripture asks? “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but foreits his soul?”

You see the fortress or castle that we want to pull down is the Kingdom of darkness that has enslaved every man and woman since Adam and Eve. It’s the Kingdom of lies, and the lies are against the One who is the Truth, and the Way and the Life.

And the primary thing that pulls down that fortress, that Kingdom of darkness, is the Gospel, because it not only shines truth in the darkness, it actually has the POWER to change the heart. To grant the free gift of a new spirit, to make a new creation.

But enough on the first part of our passage, let’s look at the real subject of our message today, 2 Cor 10:5 bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Bring Every Thought Captive

Do you know what a "mopping-up" operation is in warfare?

After a battle is won, the battle is seldom ever totally over. There is always a stray enemy sniper here, an enemy soldier playing possum over there, waiting to jump up and knife you when you walk by, some enemy troops who were out on patrol, and arrive back, not even knowing there was a battle.

Sometimes just those enemies who escape into the hills and never give up. You may have heard of the Japanese soldiers we found on an island, I think it was in the 1960’s. They were cut off from communications, and they never knew that World War II was over.

Anyway, 2 Cor 10:5, bringing every thought into captivity is the mopping-up operation in the battles that the Gospel has already won. Are you a Christian? Then the battle for your soul has already been won.

The Gospel, which is the power of God, won you. The enemy's desire to keep you in his kingdom was foiled. You are a child of God. Your sins are forgiven, you have eternal life, and you are destined to forever be present with your King in heaven.

But there are still some snipers out there, there are still some enemies pretending to be dead, there are still some who don’t even know the battle is won. And they will seek to deceive you, and hinder your walk.

They will seek to deny the Word of God, while you don’t even know they’re denying it. They will seek to make you think things that will hinder you from having the fruit of the Spirit in your daily life, because lies have a way of quenching the Spirit and keeping us from being filled with the Spirit.

The Worst Lies Fall Into Three Categories:

1.Lies about God Himself.

Lies about God may include that He Himself is a liar, or that he may not really love us, or that He may not really judge those who reject Christ with the Lake of Fire, or that He is not just, or that He is not all-powerful, or that He doesn’t know the future, or that He didn’t really raise Jesus from the dead, or that Jesus is not God, and on and on.

These are often the foundations for false religions and cults, but they are not absent from the visible church.

2.Lies about man.

These may include lies like all men are born good, or man is really divine, or man can save himself by his good works. Other lies revolve around the condition of the born-again believer. Like saying that we are just the same as we were before being saved, except forgiven, instead of the truth that we are new creations who love God and hate sin.

Or lies that we are not really righteous, even though God’s Word clearly says that we have been justified, declared righteous, because of Christ’s death on the cross.

3.Lies about the Word of God, the Bible.

If the enemy can get you to doubt the Word of God, even as a believer, he has gained one of his biggest footholds in hindering your spiritual walk.

Especially regarding the New Covenant, and the wonderful love and acceptance that God has for you, because of His grace, His free gift of righteousness and salvation. If the enemy can get you to doubt that, then you will shy away from Jesus in your daily life, instead of fellowshiping closely with Him.

Listen, He is your Daily Bread. He is the Life you feed on, indeed He is your very Life, if you are a Christian.

Anything that leads you away from the sweet communion with Him needs to be speared to death with the TRUTH of the Word of God. Every thought that comes to your mind needs to be measured. It’s a habit.

Get in the habit of measuring every thought by this:

Is it true according to the Word of my Lord and Savior?

Take those thoughts captive. Examine them. Throw the false ones in the garbage. Treasure the true ones. They will fill your heart with love for Jesus.

How Is The Mind The Battleground For Spiritual Warfare?

Often it's said that the battleground of the Devil is the mind. And we’ve seen there is truth to that. But how is the mind the battleground for spiritual warfare?

Follow me here:

Q. What does the mind do?
A. It thinks.

Q. What does it think?
A. It thinks thoughts.

Thoughts may be divided into two classes, truth and lies.

And that is the real "material" of spiritual warfare: truth vs. lies.

That's why the Scriptures speak of "doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1), because doctrines (teachings) of demons are lies. It's truth that sets us free, and it's lies that put us in bondage of various kinds.

Where Is The Authoritative Truth?

Which leads us to the question, "Where is authoritative truth?"

Well, it's in the Scriptures. That's why we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Rom. 12:1,2)

And the Devil and demons are not our only enemies. There are also the World and the Flesh. Any one of the unholy three (the World, the Flesh, and the Devil) is able to de-rail us, if we are not filled with the Truth of the Word of God.

How are we filled with the Word of God?

I would recommend five ways:

1. Reading the Word, especially the New Testament epistles.

2. Studying the Word, perhaps using good commentaries, word studies, Bible dictionaries, etc.

3. Meditating on the Word. Thinking over each passage, asking questions like Who, What, When, Where, Why?

4. Praying the Word. Asking God to teach us, and equip us with His grace, to understand and be able to live each passage, as it is applied to our lives.

5. Perhaps most important, always relating the Word to Jesus Christ, Who is the Living Word.

He who is our Life, Jesus Christ, Who is one in spirit with us believers, is the Object of the Scriptures. All Scriptures point to Him, and He is Truth personified. Seek Him in every passage. He is our Bread. Feed on Him. Don't view the Scriptures as just some kind of rule book or map. It breathes Christ! Our Savior, our Lord, our Counselor, our Friend!

When you recognize a lie, renounce it. Put it away.

But be sure to replace it with the truth.

Practice the truth. Seek it out. Don't let a lie rest. Root it out. Pray for the Lord to lead you in truth, which does indeed set us free. Stand on the truth. That's what the warfare is about. And taking captive your thoughts is the mopping-up operation.

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." -- Galatians 5:1

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