To God’s Beloved At Cloverdale Baptist Church:
We are under attack! Satan would love to accuse, lie, deceive, divide and destroy! You are under attack!
I had the privilege Sunday of teaching on demonic attacks during discipleship hour, and was reminded of how helpful it is to recognize the schemes of the devil (2 Corinthians 2:11). There are a number, but I want to focus on the three that I see most often used against the church…really they are from his play book as seen in Genesis 3…did not delve into these on Sunday, but think they are helpful to keep us from sin and division.
What are some of the top schemes of the devil that we must defend against as a church, and as individuals in this very real battle?
Scheme #1: Taking away from the Bible. Many do this by just not knowing their Bibles very well, or thinking somehow the Bible is just an ancient book and has very little to do with us. Others adjust to cultural truths that will soon fade (as other cultural truths have), but are currently holding emotional and intellectual sway. This is seen most clearly in moral issues where the culture is warring against Biblical values (Isaiah 5:20), and is rampant in Canadian churches. As you look at your own beliefs makes sure that you are not changing God’s Word to accommodate the culture, or softening the holiness of God to help someone be comfortable in their sin. Usually when I am dealing with this attack on others, it focuses on the roles of men and women, or sexual purity, or identity, although I am sure there are many other areas it is attacking. BE AWARE YOU ARE UNDER ATTACK. I have had friends change their entire view on sexuality/gender because someone they loved was struggling in sin and the culture was shouting in their ear that it was okay. NEVER take anything away from God’s Word, but show your love for Him by obeying Him (John 14:15).
When you feel the pressure of the world to remove a biblical command or concept, FIGHT it with God’s Word, and STAND FIRM (Ephesians 6:11)
Scheme #2: The second scheme that the devil uses is to cause those who want to be especially loyal to God to add to His Word traditions or rules (fences) as biblical. Jesus addressed this most profoundly in His attack on the Pharisees, and even accuses them of obeying traditions and letting go obedience to the Word of God (Mark 7:8). I have seen this repeatedly in churches, where love and self-sacrificial service are sacrificed for tradition and fake holiness. We will always have traditions and fences, and that is good. However, where they are elevated to the status of the Bible we are actually taking the role of the Holy Spirit, and slipping into the deception of the devil.
Many times I have heard from people that what we are changing to is not biblical, or choices we are making are non-biblical, and yet when challenged they can’t find a text…they plead their case that, it is biblical that women should wear dresses, men should wear ties, don’t change how we do communion (or change it to how my old church did it, or what feels best to me), or don’t make me wear a mask, or choose the right kind of music that best makes my heart flutter. Was that personal? I hope so. If you can’t find what you think is biblical in the Bible, and have to force it in a secondary way with references that don’t fit, or as is the usual no references at all…STOP. I don’t mean stop enjoying your tradition, or being passionate about your fence, or change your tastes, I mean stop following the lies of the devil and adding traditions or rules to the status of God’s Word (Genesis 3:1-8). I mean be aware of the demonic realms schemes and FIGHT! Choose love and maturity where the Bible is not clear, and stand firm where it is (Romans 12:1-10). Rules and traditions are great if they are known to be rules and traditions and held in submission to God’s Word and love.
Scheme #3: The third scheme the demonic realm consistently uses, is trusting what we feel, or what others feel is right rather than the goodness of the revealed will of God and self-sacrificial love. Another way of saying this is, don’t follow your heart, follow God’s Word and believe in His character when your feelings and His Word are in conflict (Romans 8:28-39). Never trust what you feel, in fact, always take God at His Word and place over your feelings for what is best for you and others! We are to guard our hearts, even as we are aware they are new, and being renewed, but we are not to trust them (Jeremiah 17:9-20).
If you feel strongly about something that is not in the Bible, you may be right…but it was not important enough for the Holy Spirit to breathe into the Word so it should not be important enough for you to feel hurt over, or to hurt others over. It might look good and feel good and be evil, so always choose God’s Word over your feelings, even those informed by your favourite news channel or the internet, or your best friends or favourite pastors. A battle cry of a denomination I used to belong to was, WHERE STANDS IT WRITTEN, and although I am pretty sure that is not important to them any longer, it must be to those who want to win in this battle!
How Do We Fight if we are aware of the demonic play book (schemes)?
The next time you feel strongly about an issue being biblical or a tradition being stolen from you, or a loved one that is struggling with sin that you want to pacify…FIGHT! Make an internal decision to fight, so you can display holiness and love in all areas of your life. Be a Romans 12:1-10 follower of Jesus, not bound by traditions or culture, but free in Christ to obey Him no matter what the cost.
Rarely do people fight and divide over biblical issues, almost always they are preferences, traditions, or communal deceptions…so now that you are aware of this, how can you be better equipped to fight?
Be strong in the LORD: All defining relationship with Jesus. Ephesians 6:10 reminds us we can’t do this alone, we need His help. Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), so start and stay here and keep your first love fire burning strong (Revelation 2:4). Seek to be loyal to Jesus and take 10 looks at Him, for every look you take at anything else.
If your love for Jesus is not your first love, repent and renew that first love devotion. It is more important than any debatable issue, and if Jesus was right in his letter to the church at Ephesus, even more important than the things that shouldn’t be debatable.
Keep your devotion to Him full, and your fixation with Him unaltered. This is where you will get your motive and strength to stay on God’s side.
Be Word saturated: The better we know God’s Word, the more we will find victory in this attack (Psalm 119:11). Memorize God’s Word, take notes when it is preached, read, read, read, and talk about it with others. The more the Word lives in you the easier it will be to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). If you are in the world more than you are in the Word, don't be surprised that your thinking will be tainted by the world and not washed enough by the WORD. You must learn to interpret it correctly, to understand it in context, to study to show yourself approved, and as you learn to read deeper and wider, you will fight more effectively.
Be aware and acknowledge the truth about your convictions or lack of them: Be honest. If you are going to say that one of your traditions is biblical take the time to find the verses, if you actually find them, study them and make sure you understand them correctly, study church history so you can see how others seeking to obey have walked, and be aware of other traditions before you actually divide over it, or use strong language (you are going against the Bible). If we obey what is plain in the Bible these steps of temptation and disobedience from the demonic realm to add or take away from the Bible, or trust our own feelings over God’s goodness will be dissipated. The people that Jesus was the hardest on in the Bible were those who added to God’s Word in the name of holiness and religion. Be one who is humble before God’s Word, and elevates it to the place He does and desires from His followers (Isaiah 66:2; Psalm 138:2).
Stay Gospel Oriented: You are forgiven and free in Christ. He is your identity and your passion. Preach the Gospel to yourself every day that you might live as an overflow of that reality and its impact on your heart, mind and actions. If you are compelled by the love of God you will stand firm against the schemes of the devil in His grace and pursuing true holiness. You will walk worth (Ephesians 4:1-3), and in love as an imitator of God (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Most of the armour we are called to wear in Ephesians 6 is covered by being Gospel oriented and Word saturated. So put the armour on, and fight, and it will stop most of the fighting internally and engage in the right fighting externally in dependent prayer.
Choose Your Friends Wisely: 1 Corinthians 15:33 states this plainly, and I have seen it so many times. People who fall into sin because of peer pressure not passion for Jesus. This is why it is so important to have elders and a church that are passionate about God and His Word, Growth Groups that are encouraging and friends that hold your feet to the fire of what God’s Word really says (Hebrews 3:12-14). Make sure the people you hang out with as close friends are people who love God and His Word and don’t add to it, take away from it, or trust their feelings over God’s goodness.
We are under attack. We don’t need to fear (1 John 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:3), but we do need to fight. So…ENGAGE! And together in the LORD we will win now, even as the victory is sure then!
Please ask questions of your elders as you have them, God has entrusted you to our care, and we love to listen and seek to humbly pursue God's best together for His glory...we want to follow God in this journey in community, and need your engagement to do that successfully!
Ephesians 6:11 “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”
We are still looking for a discipleship pastor. If you know anyone who would fit, or might fit, please let our search committee know!
Sunday is Coming
One of our old interns is preaching this Sunday. Excited to hear him preach.
Pray for Everything
2 Kings 6:1-23
From the Least to the Greatest
Philippians 4:5-6 - 5
- What do you find difficult praying about?
- Are there things you assume are too small for God to care about?
- Too big for him to handle?
- How does seeing the reality of the spiritual realm help us stay continually in prayer?
Family Games Afternoon
Saturday, Jan. 27th / 1–4 PM / Church An afternoon of board games and gym activities with friends and family! Snacks and beverages will be provided and the mothers room will be available for mothers with infants.
Sat. Feb. 3rd / 8:30 AM / Fellow. Hall Men of all ages, come and enjoy a wonderful breakfast, fellowship, and spiritual food together!
Seniors Valentine's Day Lunch
Wed. Feb. 7th / 11:30 am / Fellow. Hall Seniors—get your tickets to our February 7th Valentine’s Day lunch available for the next two Sundays in the foyer. Our special guest will be concertmaster violinist Dr. Calvin Dyck, who brings humor and accomplished skill to his performance.
Every Sunday at 9am Our Discipleship Classes are back with new classes for all ages. Learn more about our classes >
Dad & Daughter Event
Sat. Feb. 10th / 2:00 PM / Gym A special event for girls ages 4-12 and their dad, grandpa, or uncle. Featuring a facilitated craft—planting and decorating a flower pot, a message about raising daughters by one of our Men's Ministry leaders, and ice cream sundaes for everyone. Register at the Women's Ministries table in the foyer, $5 per family (space is limited).
Sun. Feb. 11th / 7:00 pm / Fellow. Hall Julie Gibson, one of our missionaries serving with WEC, will be reporting on her ministry work.
Get Involved Today!
If you wish to serve in a ministry, fill out our Get Involved form or contact our Volunteer Coordinator. One of our current needs is Parking Lot Attendants, but volunteers are needed in other ministries as well.