NEVER LAY DOWN THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

Friends, we live in a most dangerous time. A time where error and deception abounds. A time where we as Christians are being asked to put our differences aside, to put aside what we believe to be truth, in order for the various churches to be able to unite together in this ecumenical movement, for the sake of "peace and love." Take a look at the following examples:

"Instead of focusing on their philosophical and historical differences, American Catholics and Protestants should UNITE to confront common enemies." (source)

"Over 400 Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders from all over the world affirmed on Wednesday a new declaration calling for the global protection of religious minorities and marginalized communities ... Recognizing that our shared values are more important than our differences, and that we are strongest when we act together, we pledge to combine our best efforts to foster unity where there is discord." (source)

"Pope Francis on December 14, 2017, met with the leadership of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to discuss ways to work together to promote religious freedom around the world ... the group brought to the Pope a call for closer partnership in protecting religious freedom ... According to Vatican Radio, the bishop admitted that major theological differences remain, but it's increasingly important to look for a common agenda, rather than focus on what differs and what pulls us apart." (source)

Can you see what they are saying here? And this is just small example of what is happening all over the world. The leaders of the various churches are telling us that our differences are not as important as what unites us. In other words, we must put aside our differences and UNITE on 'common' points of 'human values.'

Ultimately, they are saying ... "lay down your sword [the Word of God] and let us UNITE!"

If a soldier goes into battle with no weapon, what is going to happen? He can do nothing but stand there, taking the attacks from the enemy, until eventually his body armour gives way and then the enemy will kill him. But if he goes into battle with a weapon also, then he stands a much better chance of survival, because he can then attack and push back the enemy. It is the same with a Christian. While we reject any kind of physical fighting, there is a fight we are in, and it is the fight for our souls.

Ephesians 6:12 ...'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.'

This is the battle we are in. It is a spiritual battle against the forces of darkness. Against the kingdom of Satan. And what do we need to be able to battle against this dark spiritual force? Take a look at the verses that follow verse 12 of Ephesians 6 above:

Ephesians 6:13-17 ...'Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.'

We need the WHOLE armour of God, not just parts of it, but ALL of it!

The shield of faith is the most important piece of armour. But where do we get faith from? "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). So even our faith comes by hearing the Word of God - the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT. Do you see how important the sword of the Spirit is? And what is it that the church leaders today are deceiving the people into laying aside? The sword of the Spirit - TRUTH of God's Word. And if Satan can successfully get people to lay aside the sword, which he is doing, then there will be no attacks against his kingdom, and this is why his power in this world is increasing!

Think about this. When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness by Satan, what did Jesus do? Did He just simply take the attacks? No! He 'attacked' Satan with the Word of God, with that 'sword of the Spirit', by saying - 'IT IS WRITTEN.' So Jesus made use of the sword of the Spirit to attack Satan's error and drive him away! And we must follow our Lord and Master in using the sword of the Spirit to drive away error.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ...'For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.'

But what are the church leaders saying today? That we must not focus on what divides us, but focus on what unites us. So again, they are telling us to lay down the sword and lay aside the truth of God's Word, making compromise in order to unite for 'peace.' But what did Jesus say He came to bring? Did He say He came to bring 'peace'?

Matthew 10:34-39 ...'Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.'

What did Jesus cause among the Jewish "church" of His day? DIVISION! Why? Because He spoke the truth! So what would the church leaders do today if Jesus was here? They would do exactly what the 'church' leaders did back then - REJECT the Son of God!

Jesus knew that the truth He was bringing to this world would not bring peace, because mankind tends to want to do things his own way, going down that 'easy, wide road' to destruction. So when the truth is preached, it is like a sword cutting through the wickedness and error, causing division among the people. And Just as Jesus brought division to the "fallen church" in His day, so will Jesus' followers bring division to the fallen churches of our day. With the TRUTH of God's Word - the sword of the Spirit!

The leaders today want to do away with truth, but look at how important truth is to us:

Proverbs 3:3 ...'Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.'

Proverbs 16:6 ...'By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.'

Proverbs 23:23 ...'Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.'

Hosea 4:1 ...'Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.'

John 3:21 ...'He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.'

John 4:23-24 ...'But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.'

John 8:32 ...'And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'

John 14:6 ...'Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.'

John 17:17,19 ...'Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.'

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 ...'But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.'

2 Corinthians 13:8 ...'For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.'

Galatians 4:16 ...'Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?'

Ephesians 5:9 ...'For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.'

1 Timothy 2:4 ...'Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.'

2 Timothy 2:15 ...'Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.'

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ...'For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.'

2 John 1:4 ...'I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.'

3 John 1:4 ...'I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.'

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ...'Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.'

Do you see the importance of TRUTH? This is why I have shared so many verses, and this is just a small selection from the Bible concerning TRUTH. The truth that is found in the Word of God is vital for our lives and our salvation, and if we do not have a love for the truth, or we do what the church leaders tell us to do today, in 'laying aside the sword of the Spirit', then we will be taken by the deadly delusion, just as Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2 above. Friends, we NEED the truth. We must seek the truth as for treasure (Proverbs 2:1-5). And we must live by the truth.

NEVER lay down the sword of the Spirit - we need the WHOLE armour of God to stand in the time of trouble!

"After a long and severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls, and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children's children. To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God's professed people. There is an alarming indifference in regard to the doctrines which are the pillars of the Christian faith. The opinion is gaining ground, that, after all, these are not of vital importance. This degeneracy is strengthening the hands of the agents of Satan, so that false theories and fatal delusions which the faithful in ages past imperiled their lives to resist and expose, are now regarded with favor by thousands who claim to be followers of Christ." (The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol.4, p.46)