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The Battle For Souls

by Buford Smith

The battle for souls began in the Garden of Eden. God warned Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).

God created Eve and presented her to Adam as his help-meet. Satan charmed Eve into believing his lie about God. “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. “

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 3:4-6).

Adam was free to choose. He deliberately sinned. God’s warning became reality. From Adam to our day, Biblical history documents man’s rebellious attitude to-ward sovereign God. But God always found individuals who desired to please Him and with these He led His people. Young Samuel was one of these.

From his training as a youth to old age, Samuel’s life involved leading Israel. In his old age, Samuel appointed his sons as judges for Israel, but they were corrupt, perverting the justice of God by accepting bribes. The elders of Israel acted. Presenting their case to Samuel, they asked for a king to rule over them, “such as all the other nations have.”

Samuel did not like their choice. He knew the wickedness of the nations. So he prayed to God and was told that the people were not rejecting him. The people were rejecting God, as they had done from the time He led them out of Egypt. God told Samuel to listen to the people, “but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” After detailing all the difficulties they would face under a king, Samuel said, “When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day” (I Samuel 8). Biblical history documents that the sins of the people separated them from God.

Sovereign God has not changed. He warns us of false prophets who come “in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves who will be known by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20). But men refuse to heed His warning. A brief survey of American religion gives evidence that several groups have voted to allow openly practicing homosexual people to lead their religious services. These professing Christians have rejected God’s law as given in Romans (1:18-32). They choose to be like the nations. The sad record of rebellion continues. The apostle Paul warns Timothy to expect this rebellion against God, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (II Timothy 3:1-5).

This is clear warning to all Bible-believing Christians: have nothing to do with religion that refuses to honor the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ. The devil continues to rage against the God of heaven. Television programming insists that we accept homosexuality as a normal lifestyle for news anchors, entertainers, athletes and people in general. The United States President and other people of influence praise the “courageous” individuals who dare to publicly announce their choice to live as homosexuals.

The U. S. Government Court System is getting closer to making Christian Biblical preaching a “hate crime.” This has already happened in Canada and other countries. As with the saints in Acts (4:18-20), Christians may be forced to choose between obedience to God or following the crowd who hate Him. God plainly tells us He hates sin and that the homosexual lifestyle is sin. The pressure is on Christians to accept as normal what God calls sin.

Christians, take heart. All is not lost. God is on His throne; His omnipotent and omniscient power is supreme. And, best of all, He is our strength and our refuge (Psalm 28:6-7; 46:1-3). There remains a remnant of Christians who believe that Jesus is The Promised Messiah; that the Bible is His Command Book for living in to-day’s world; and that choosing obedience to Him will cause persecution that could be political or economic. These cling to their faith in Jesus and refuse to bow to religious or political pressure.

This remnant of believers leads the way into the eternal safety of God’s king-dom. What God requires of us is genuine humility exemplified by visible life-changing action (II Chronicles 7:12-16); a total yielding to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (John 14:23-24; 16:33; Revelation 2:7; 3:19-22); and a continued wariness of Satan.

 

Buford Smith is minister of the Shiloh Church of Christ, Sullivan, IN.




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10