Sleeping With the Enemy

A few years back, there was a movie introduced with this title. It told the story of a young woman being held captive in an abusive relationship and of her attempts to escape.

The parallels and comparisons to much of today’s western church are really quite remarkable – with one important exception.

Much of today’s western church is sleeping with the enemy, yet it has no interest in trying to escape. Rather, having come under the strong delusion predicted by Scripture, the church is content, comfortable and “has need of nothing.”

The “seeker-friendly” movement has, by all estimates, been adopted by an alarming number of churches. As a result, the church has willingly handed over its spiritual power and authority mandated by scripture. Recovering that which has been lost may prove to be extremely difficult, if not altogether impossible.

The original command given by Jesus to “go and make disciples of all nations” has been updated and modernized to read “go and make members” so that the church can grow.

Churches that remain true to the original mandate are few and far between. Not only that, the process of making disciples usually results in a decline, rather than an increase, in members.

There are a couple of specific instances that I want to reference before moving on to what I consider the more serious issue confronting us today – the disobedience of the church.

Appealing to the “itching ears” of the masses are a couple of movements that are generally viewed as being fairly modern concepts but in reality their roots are well described by Scripture.

First, we have the gospel of prosperity that preaches that Jesus came so that you could have Your Best Life Now – in other words, to make you wealthy, healthy and wise. Just a bit contrary to what Scripture tells us when we are told to “take up our cross daily” and “whoever shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

The other instance centers around the gospel of self-esteem. This particular movement tells us that Jesus came so that we could have a higher self-esteem. Further, should you question this particular interpretation you are considered to be a malcontent and you should be removed from the church.

This particular movement was effectively described by the title of an obscure book that I ran across – “Are You Purpose – Driven or Spirit Led?

Take some time and do a little research on your own. If you’re a member of a church that is a part of either of these, you need to get enlightened while you still have time.

The Disobedience of the Church

Most churches today are pretty ineffective and powerless when it comes to spiritual matters. Every so often a movement comes along that seems to show “signs & wonders” and it captivates us, at least for a season.

Regrettably, most of these “movements” generally die off of their own accord as the real source of the spiritual forces behind them begin to show their true nature.

By and large, today’s church has either forgotten or chooses to ignore the mandates of Scripture. In some instances, the church leaders put a “spin” on these mandates by saying that the Scriptures don’t really apply to their church, or worse.

I’m referring here to Paul’s message in Ephesians. More specifically – Ephesians 3:10, which states:

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, (KJV)

A couple of years ago I was led to this passage and just couldn’t get it out of my mind without doing some extensive study and heartfelt prayer in seeking just why this section of Scripture weighed so heavily upon me.

The result of this was a study that led to putting together a guide for those interested in exploring this topic further.

You can download the PDF version here.

The file contains three different versions of Ephesians, Chapter 3, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this chapter, excerpts from Wink’s Commentary, a number of quotes from Dr. Ed Murphy’s The Handbook For Spiritual Warfare and information gleaned from the teachings of Derek Prince.

In the interest of brevity, I’ll forgo a complete review of this subject here and just offer you the following from the study:

Here, in the ‘heavenlies’, the church has committed its most serious act of disobedience to the Lord. In choosing not to engage the powers and principalities, the church has, instead, fallen into collusion with the enemy. This is the major cause of powerlessness in the spiritual battle before us.

And, this excerpt:

Just as believers can take authority over demons through Christ’s authority, Paul here explains that the church, through Christ, is to do the same with powers and principalities in the heavenlies. Through this ongoing proclamation, the powers and principalities are weakened and ultimately brought into submission and defeat. The church’s role is not just to inform, but to enforce.

Now, please understand that I make no claim to being an expert in these matters. As I was led into this study, I merely drew upon the works of others that are far more knowedgable than me.

The resulting study was simply an exercise in bringing together these separate elements into a single (and, I’m sure – incomplete) document.

Upon completing this “assignment,” I shared the findings with a close friend that pastors a church in another area. With further study and prayer on his part, he began to embrace and then put into practice the message that these verses command.

The results of his leading the church in obedience to these commands were far more than we could envision or imagine – miraculous healings, an outpouring of deliverance and a continuing increase in the sincere conversion and salvation of those hearing the Gospel.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to download the file and read through it. Do some research and get the answers for yourself.

I know it changed my view of what this aspect of the “church” is supposed to be about.

Comments

  1. Randy Calaway says:

    I am a rebel product of the 70’s and fought structured lifeless churches for years and years, ending up in the camp of house churches, understanding the “unchurched” Christian is numerically as strong as any denomination of Christian.

    So, what do we do with this information? D0 we continue a secterian spirit,in which we fight in the name of Jesus? That is what we do, but is it right, is God calling forth something new?

    I do think we are entering into an age were illumination in the Word of God is being poured out, and that with a purity. We fight and divide because we want to build our ivory towers of doctrine and have preeminence over the congregation and be thought of as better than other groups of Christians- All to our own demise.

    Frankly, I am tired of making small of others and others doing likewise.

    Be forward, by example.

    This happens by chosing to love when possible and not to be threatened by every jot of the letter that is uncomfortable with us. In essence, we learn to love, forgive and approach a very bright and foundational light.

    That light is called faith- That which we all dodge behind religious doors of pride. In that America is chocked with the”Word of God,yet very little in the purity of the Word. In that we need an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not another system of belief.

    That unity occurs by being led by the Holy Spirit, not by a “better than” club with their own specialized emphasis on scripture.

    In conclusion, stop blaming others and look in the mirror. Grow up in Christ, walk in illumination and revival. Go the death to resurrection route, never mind who follows or not.

    • Randy – thanks for your comment. I think you’ve made a pretty accurate assessment of what tries to pass itself off as today’s “church.”

      Your point about being led by the Holy Spirit is right on the point. Most of today’s churches have driven the Holy Spirit off in the interest of furthering their (earthly) agenda.

      And I certainly hope you’re right about our entering into an age of real illumination of Scripture.

      Peace.

      • Randy Calaway says:

        Joe…

        Thanks for letting me on your blog. I saw your heart as you shared with Peter.

        As I review the different “Feast of Israel,” and in specific, the Feast of Tabernacle, I become more convinced of the end of all things. Being one who has also studied the Prophets and I see the same cycles repeated today, it is like icing in the cake.

        Likewise, my own heart, and many of those like minded- We find a “state of constant brokeness- And that is Okay. Maybe preferred?

        Christ is returning soon.

        The paradox- As the world grows incresingly crazy, as darkness increases, and even as relgious confusion increases: In the midst of all this trouble and conflict: A wonderful outpouring of God in His Word and in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is a God thing in which he is glorified, we cannot do it!

        Blessings to you, the double portion of Word and Spirit is knocking on the door.
        I bring you good tidings.

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