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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Kerry Shook » Kerry Shook - Cosmic Conflict

Kerry Shook - Cosmic Conflict

Kerry Shook - Cosmic Conflict
TOPICS: Spiritual warfare

Hey, Woodlands Church, I'm here in the boxing ring because we're in this series on "Fighting Fair," and so I'm floatin' like a butterfly and stingin' like a bee here. Well, I'm not floating much, that's for sure, but we're in the ring because we've been talkin' about this ring of conflict, and we've said that conflict is not bad. You see, I used to think that conflict was a bad thing, that you don't wanna be in conflict in any relationship, and so when Chris and I would get into an argument and the emotions would start coming out, I would wanna leave the ring of conflict because I thought, "You avoid conflict. It's a bad thing. It's not a good thing. And you avoid conflict at work. You avoid conflict with friends. You don't wanna rock the boat. You wanna avoid conflict at all costs". But I've learned conflict is not bad. Conflict, in fact, is a great opportunity to deepen the relationship.

You see, God says in his Word, and we've been looking at this over the last several weeks, that conflict is really the only way that you can go to a deeper level in a relationship, and the purpose of conflict is to deepen connection as you work through conflict, and you fight fair, and you apply these biblical principles we're talking about, then you move to a deeper connection in the relationship. So the goal is not to knock out your opponent. The goal is to build the relationship. And I see it all the time in marriages where people get into an argument, and they're just out to win. You know, they're just out to beat the other person in the argument. They want their way, and they're out to control to try to get their way, and they're two people fighting for control, and they forget that you can win the argument, but the relationship goes down for the count because, when one of you wins, both of you lose.

It's not about winning. It's about producing a deeper connection. You know, we think we're fighting our spouse in an argument. We think we're fighting a coworker. We think we're fighting against a boss or an employee, and we think we're in an argument with a friend, but we don't realize there is the real enemy out there, the real opponent because, when you're in conflict in a relationship, that other person is not the opponent. You're trying to build the relationship stronger. It's messy, it gets heated, but it's all to build the relationship, but there is a real opponent. There's a real enemy out there, and he wants to take your relationships and take the conflict that was meant to produce connection and turn it into disconnection, confusion, chaos, and destruction.

What I'm talking about is this cosmic conflict that's been going on for eons of time, God versus Satan, good versus evil. And I have to say that, when you're in conflict in a relationship, you have to be aware of it. You have to have your guard up for the real opponent. Otherwise, you'll get leveled. I'm doin' these boxing classes and boxing workouts, and I'm terrible at it, but it's a great workout. I love doin' it and gettin' my stress out, you know, punchin' a bag that keeps punchin' back, and as I've been doing that, I'm learning that, as I'm punching, trying to get the punches right, you know, whether it's a right hook or a left uppercut or a jab or a cross, and I'm trying to get these punches right that, as I'm attacking, I just dropped my guard every time.

It's like I'll do a hook, a left hook, and then I'll drop my guard and come back, and what you're supposed to do is keep those elbows up, and every time you punch, you have to also protect. You punch and protect. You punch and protect. You keep your guard up, but too many times, we let our guard down in the spiritual, cosmic conflict that's going on, and we get knocked out because we have an enemy, Satan, who wants to destroy relationships. So I want you to open your Bibles to the book of Ephesians, and we got a great study today to look at because, so many times in a relationship, there's this spiritual battle going on that we're not aware of. I want you to stand in honor of God's Word.

We're gonna do a little study on Ephesians chapter 6, and I wanna welcome all you guys worshiping with us at our satellite campuses, Woodlands Church Atascocita, Woodlands Church North Pointe, and all of you worshiping with us through our broadcast and online ministry. Wherever you are around the world, you're always welcome, and all you guys in the Woodlands, we love you. From the Woodlands to the world, we're one church. So, as we stand, just follow along with me Ephesians 6:10-12. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms". You can be seated.

Now, I want you to underline the phrase in that passage, "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood". This is so important because, in conflict, most of the time, we think the problem is that other person that we're in conflict with, that we're arguing with, whether it's our spouse, our boss, our coworker, or a friend. We start thinking, "They are the enemy, they are the problem, they are the opponent I'm fighting against," but we don't realize that no human being is the enemy. The real enemy is Satan. The real fight is not against flesh and blood, this says. There's a spiritual battle that's raging all around us all the time that we can't see, but we need to be aware of it, but the problem is most people aren't aware of it.

Many times, I'm not aware of it. Many times, I start thinking that person I'm in conflict with is the enemy. In so many marriages, people think, "My mate is my enemy". I want you to know your mate is not your enemy. You're on the same team. The fight is not against flesh and blood. So if the fight's not against flesh and blood, who is the fight against? Well, I want you to underline the phrase "spiritual forces of evil". Spiritual forces of evil. The Bible is talking here about Satan and his cohort of fallen angels. Now, I have to say that I see two extremes when it comes to Satan and spiritual warfare, and we need to address this. The two extremes I see, or the first extreme that many Christ-followers or, at least, some Christ-followers fall into is they blame Satan for everything. Every problem that comes into their life, they say, "The devil did it. The devil caused it. The devil is behind this".

And so they blame Satan for all their problems and sins. Now, the problem with this is it takes all responsibility away from us to change, and it gives the devil more power than he really has, and so that's an extreme we don't wanna go to that Satan causes all the problems in our lives, but then I think most believers don't fall into the first extreme. They fall into this one, and that is, they're totally oblivious to the spiritual warfare that's goin' on around them. They're totally unaware of this spiritual fight that's taking place constantly.

In Isaiah 14:12, it says about Satan, "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn. You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations. You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds. I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit". Hey, I want you to underline the word "I". That appears five times. Satan says, "I will ascend. I will raise up. I, I, I".

Satan has an "I" problem, and he says, "I'm the one". He's blinded by his pride. Satan said, "I want to be God. I want to be in control. I want to be the one who calls the shots. I, I, I". And I have to say that "I" problems cause most relationship problems. It's just two people with these selfish blinders on and trying to get their way, and it's destroying the relationship, and Satan is loving it because he loves to disconnect relationships. And so our oldest problem is trying to play God. The Bible says Satan was a beautiful and powerful angel who wanted to be God.

Now, I want you to also underline, this real important, "You have been cast down to earth". "You have been cast down to earth". See, a lot of people think Satan lives in hell. No, he doesn't live in hell. He doesn't wanna be in hell. God created hell for Satan and his angels one day, and so he doesn't wanna be there, and so, right now, God allows him to be on this earth. He's cast down to the earth. One day, God will cast him into hell. One day, Satan's days will be over. They will come to an end, and God will cast them into eternal fire, and Satan will be done, and so he knows his days are numbered.

Now, some people also mistakenly think that not only does Satan live in hell and like it there, but this cosmic clash is between two gods, a good God and a bad god, Satan. But, no, there's only one God. Satan was cast down. God cast Satan and his cohorts out of heaven. You see, God is all-powerful. Satan has limited power. God is all-present, but Satan has limited presence. God is all-knowing. He's omniscient, but Satan has limited knowledge. We need to remember that. There's one God. So we need to be aware of this enemy, Satan, and then we need to be aware of the battle. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul says, "I don't want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan's scheming".

And so we need to know what Satan's tactics are. If we're gonna be on our guard and keep our guard up in our relationships and in conflict so it moves to connection and not chaos, then we have to know the battle plan of Satan, and it's always been the same since the very beginning. First is deception. He always starts with deception. In John 8:44, it says, "From the very beginning the devil was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there's no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he's only doing what is natural to him, 'cause he's a liar and the father of all lies". Underline that phrase, "the father of all lies".

You see, Satan lies constantly, and he's kind of this cyber attacker. He will embed a virus in your mind. He will lie to you in your mind, and you'll think that's just you thinkin' those thoughts. He'll put these little thoughts into your mind. He'll lie about who you are. He'll say, "You're worthless. You're no good. You'll never be used of God. You're not enough. You're not beautiful. You're not strong". Yeah, all the time, he gives you these thoughts. He puts these thoughts in your mind, these lies about who you are, and many times, we think that we're just thinkin' these thoughts. He'll put the lie in your mind, "You're the only one who's ever gone through what you're goin' through. You're all alone".

There's so many lies that goes back to over and over again, but he'll lie about who you are, and then he'll lie about who God is. He'll say things like "You can't trust God. I mean, if you really surrender your whole life to God, then he's gonna mess up your life. You can't trust God. God's not powerful enough to really come through for you. God can't do that miracle. You can't trust God with your life. He'll let you down. If you really give God your whole life, he'll make you a religious nut. He'll make you always do things that aren't best for you because God doesn't know what's best for you. You can't trust God". He'll always lie about God and who God is, and then he'll lie about sin. He's a master at lying about sin. The Bible says he's "an angel of light". He's beautiful, and he makes sin look beautiful. Sin looked enticing, look appealing, when it's death and destruction.

Well, his first modus of operandi is always deception, lies. Then it moves to distraction. He wants to distract you from what's really happening. He wants to distract you from God's best. He wants to distract you from God's purpose for your life. He's always distracting. He wants to distract you so you'll think that the argument is against that other person, and they're the problem rather than seeing there's a spiritual battle goin' on here. He'll wanna blind you to the real problem.

It says in 1 Corinthians 14:33, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace". So if you're confused today, God's not causing it. You have a relationship in chaos? God's not causing it. God is not the author of confusion, but God can take confusion and turn it into connection, but Satan wants to take the conflict and turn it into confusion. His strategy has always been deception and then distraction. A lot of times, Satan won't try to get you to do something bad. He'll just try to get you to do something good that's not the best. Many times, he wants to distract you from the very best that God wants for you by getting you to go for somethin' that's just okay, but God has the best in mind for you. But then, we move to disconnection. Disconnection. If you think the enemy in an argument is that other person, flesh and blood, then you're gonna be distracted, and it's gonna move to disconnection.

In 2 Corinthians 4, it says, "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They're unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God". I want you to underline the word "Satan," and underline the phrase, "blinded the minds," and draw a line connecting the two because Satan wants to disconnect us. He wants to put blinders over our minds and over our hearts and disconnect us. He wants us to be disconnected from God and disconnected from others. It's one of his lies all the time that you can handle life on your own, that you don't need anyone else. And we need God, and we need others, and God always pushes us toward connection.

Well, he puts spiritual blinders on those who don't know him to disconnect them from God, and many times, you know, if you're talking to someone about God and they can't really see it, that's because Satan has put spiritual blinders on them to disconnect them from God. That's when you have to pray, "God, open their eyes". Always pray, "God, open our eyes. Open my eyes to really see," you know, "what you wanna do in my life, to really see how you wanna connect me". But many times, he puts spiritual blinders on Christ-followers so that we can't see what's really happening, so that we don't really have the spiritual eyes to see what's goin' on in the conflict, and we need God's spiritual lenses so that we can see what's happening and we can be aware of what's happening.

Satan loves disconnection, and that's why, whenever you're in conflict, when you leave the ring and try to avoid conflict at all costs, pretend it doesn't exist because it feels awkward and you don't like conflict, you're playin' right into Satan's hands, and I used to always leave the ring or try to leave the ring when I was in conflict with Chris, and she was basically sayin', "Do you think I'm worth fighting for? Don't you think I'm worth fighting for"? She would ratchet up the emotions and pour out her emotions, and I would try to leave the ring, and that's playing right into what Satan wants because he wants disconnection, and by the way, he also wants you to think that you don't need other believers around you, but you have to have other believers around you to make it in this life.

The Christian life is not just a matter of believing. It's also a matter of belonging. That's why I've been havin' all these big connections at church that are amazing to connect you with others. God always pushes us toward connection. Many times, I wanna say, "God, I just want you to solve this problem in my life. I wanna go just to you, and you take care of it," and then God will push me to someone else, that they'll be part of the solution. Many times, like, "God, I need healing from you, God. I need you to heal this hurt". And God then pushes me toward others, and I have to humble myself and say, "Would you pray for me for healing"?

And we wonder why we feel empty on the inside is we're runnin' so fast, we're not connected to others. Well, God pushes us toward connection. Satan pushes us toward disconnection. And, by the way, disconnection leads to destruction. God pushes you toward connection because he knows that's fulfillment, but disconnection leads to destruction, and that's what Satan wants, and that's the fourth thing, destruction. God has a purpose for your life, but Satan also has a purpose for your life. In John 10:10, it tells us Satan's purpose, what he's trying to achieve in your life. Says, "The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy".

Make no mistake about it. You have an enemy that wants to steal your joy, who wants to kill your passion for life, who wants to destroy your relationships. That's what he's about. That's what he's tryin' to do, so we need to be aware of the enemy, aware of his battle plan and don't give into it, and then aware of the outcome. This is so powerful and positive. See, the good news is Satan is a defeated enemy. In Ephesians 6:13, it says, "Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then". Underline the word "stand".

It appears three times, and here's the point: We don't have to fight Satan. And if you're out there, tryin' to fight Satan, then you're gonna get knocked out in the first round. You don't have to fight Satan. All you have to do is stand in the victory that Christ has won. Just keep standing. Keep standing in the ring. Keep standing in the ring, and he cannot hurt you. He cannot defeat you 'cause he's defeated. You see, Christ won the war. He won the fight on the cross when he died on the cross and he rose again. Satan is a defeated foe, and you need to realize that and be aware of it because the only way that he can knock you out, the only way that he can defeat you, if you start believing his lies. And so we stand firm in what Christ has done on the cross.

So the question then is "How do you stand"? Well, as we're studying Ephesians 6, it tells us how we're to stand. You see, we have to have this awareness of the spiritual battle. Most people aren't aware of it. And then we have to take some action by standing. So how do I stand? First, praise. Praise. You gotta put on some gear. I know that fighters wear mouthpieces. I have a little mouthpiece up here. And fighters put on mouthpieces, a mouth guard, and so we had to put a mouth guard on. We have to praise and stop complaining because Satan feeds on negativity. And so one way that we stand, stand firm in what Christ has done is we praise him. No matter what we feel like, we praise him because he's won the battle.

It says, in Ephesians 6:14, "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place". Underline "the belt of truth". Hey, the championship belt is this belt of truth that, when Satan lies to you and he says, "You'll never be enough," "You're no good," "You're worthless," "You'll always fail," "You're just an old sinner who can never do anything right," "You know, you're just ugly," "You'll never be beautiful," "You'll never be worthy," on and on, when he lies to you constantly, you just wrapped the belt of truth around you, and you got the truth on your side.

All you have to do is just start praising God for the truth that you are, when he says, "You're worthless," just say, "I praise you, God, that you have made me worthy because of what you did on the cross. Thank you that I'm worth dying for, that I'm valuable, I'm beautiful, that I am your child, that you love me completely, that you have a purpose. Even though I sin and I fail, you still love me perfectly". I mean, you just throw it right back at Satan with praise. And then he says, "the breastplate of righteousness".

Underline that. Praise God that we are righteous in Christ, that we're forgiven because of what he's done on the cross. When Satan says, "You're not good enough," "You'll never be good enough," you just say, "I am because of what Christ has done. He made me good enough. I could've never been good enough. Satan, you're right, in and of my own strength, but God made me that way". And, see, here's the problem. When you feel like you're no good, when you feel worthless, when you feel like everything's falling apart, when it looks like everything's fallin' apart, when everything around you just feels awful and looks awful, we're to praise him because of the truth.

The truth is not about what you feel, and the truth, many times, it's not about what you see. It's what God says. But then, after we praise, we need to proclaim. Proclaim. In Ephesians 6:15, it says, "with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God".

So we need to proclaim. How do we do that? "Our feet," he says, "are fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace". And so what that means is that we're to be peacemakers. We're to be able to have the courage to walk into the ring with our feet instead of running with our feet out of the ring of conflict; to walk into the ring and stay in the ring no matter how uncomfortable it gets; to be able to say, "I care about this relationship," "I'm gon' stay in the ring, and we're gonna fight to build unity".
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