Pastor Dwane Parsons presents Part-2 of Know your Enemy
Know Your Enemy Part 2: Excitement and Disappointment
*The idea of “know your enemy” comes from Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War.”
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
*Last week we covered the first point of knowing our enemy: Weariness.
Esau made a error of judgment in a moment of weariness when he sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a pot of soup.
Sometimes when we are weary we need to HALT.
When you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
The good news is God is near to WEARY people.
Are you weary today? HALT and hope in the Lord.
There are two other moments that we need know our enemy:
*The first one is Excitement.
Excitement is mostly a good thing.
The first kiss, a new car, the first roller coaster ride.
That final week leading up to your well-earned vacation time – it’s awesome and awful at the same time!
Excitement, in appropriate places and times, is something that adds spice to life.
However, the enemy can use a moment of emotional or sexual excitement to lead us astray.
The gospels share the story of a man who did a monstrously evil thing in a moment of excitement…
Herod Antipas, the governor of Judah under Roman rule, had divorced his wife to steal the wife of his brother.
John the Baptist publicly criticized Herod’s adulterous marriage.
Arrogant and ambitious, Herodias was enraged that John the Baptist would dare speak against her.
But as much as she nagged him, Herod would not execute John.
Herod took a shine to John the Baptist, he liked to listen to him talk.
Herod was also a little afraid of John’s popularity.
Among the people he was considered a righteous man and a prophet.
To get Herodias off his back, Herod ultimately arrested John and threw him in a dungeon below the palace.
However, Herodias had a sinister trick up her sleeve.
Around that time Herod threw a feast with lots of dignitaries and important friends.
Upstairs they partied and feasted into the night.
Downstairs, John the Baptist suffered in chains.
Herodias’ beautiful teenage daughter from her previous marriage, named Salome, was visiting.
At one point in the evening, when Herod was especially drunk, Herodias sent Salome out to dance for Herod.
He was drunk and rowdy, and he was seduced by the dancing girl.
Burning with lust, Herod threw caution to the wind and said, “Ask me for anything, Salome, and I will give it to you.”
The young girl was taken aback by such a bold offer by the king.
She ran to her mother and asked what she should do.
Herodias knew this was her moment to strike.
She knew that with everyone around, Herod wouldn’t dare refuse.
She said, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
Herod had foolishly made a vow in front of his whole court full of friends.
He would look weak and foolish to go back on his word now.
Herod committed a cruel murder all because of a moment of unbridled toxic excitement.
So, let me ask you…
Do you control your excitement or does it control you?
Do you find yourself only being excited by things that lead you astray?
We can develop an addiction to toxic, sinful behaviors that propel us into doing things we would never dream.
1Th 4:3-5, 7-8 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
God’s will for your life is that you be sanctified.
What does the word “sanctified” mean?
It means a person or a thing especially set apart for God.
We are God’s workmanship, set apart in Christ Jesus, to do good works.
Learning to control our bodies and our appetites is a life-long journey.
We must learn and live Jesus’ attitude, behaviour, character, and teachings.
It may or may not be God’s will for you to go to Africa as a missionary.
But it’s ABSOLUTELY God’s will that you and I be holy.
When we reject living a sanctified life, we reject God’s will for us and we reject the Holy Spirit.
Does holiness matter to God?
God lives in a space where His holiness is the central focus of worship in the Kingdom of Heaven, all day, every day for eternity.
Revelations 4:8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’[b] who was, and is, and is to come.”
The point of living a holy life is clear:
1 Thess 3:13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
1 Cor 1:8 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God calls us to be Holy because God wants us to walk closely with Him, bear witness of His holiness on the earth, and also to enjoy His holiness forever in Heaven.
Living a holy life is a life where we say no to the temptations of the flesh and yes to the Holy Spirit every day.
It is all preparation for Heaven, where we will stand face to face with the one whose very NAME is “Holy.”
Scripture tells us that the pure in heart will see God.
Be careful where you go looking for excitement, and how you react when you find it.
It can cost you more than you think!
When you are getting excited, hold on to holiness!
The final enemy: Discouragement and Disappointment.
Let’s talk about the apostle Peter.
If any single biblical character demonstrates excitement, being impulsive, then disappointment and discouragement, it’s Peter.
He gets everything so right one day and everything so wrong the next.
Does that sound much like your life some days?
When Jesus asks the disciples who they think he is, Peter nails it.
“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
When Jesus started talking about the cost of discipleship, many of his followers left.
He asked Peter and the 12 if they were also going to leave.
Jn 6:68,69 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
But then there was that time that Peter disagreed that Jesus should go to the cross, and Jesus said, “Get behind me Satan!”
In another moment of heart bursting excitement, Peter vowed to never betray Jesus.
Jesus warns him – when the rooster crows…
A few days later, all the disciples fled when Jesus was arrested.
Peter hung around the edges of the crowd, trying find out what was happening, and he gets recognized.
In that moment of desperation, disappointment and discouragement, when everything seemed to be falling apart, Peter did what he swore he’d never do.
He denied his Lord; not just once but three times.
The guy who recognized the divinity of His master, saw the miracles, heard the promises, experienced the wonder and power of His love and grace.
That same guy denied Jesus to save his own skin.
Peter had high expectations of Jesus as Messiah.
Peter had high expectations of his own courage and moral behavior.
But within a few hours he is deeply disappointed that none of it came to pass.
He is heartbroken and disappointed in Jesus, heartbroken and disappointed in himself.
Disappointment leads to discouragement.
Discouragement can make you say things you don’t mean and do things that are out of character.
Don’t let a moment, a month, a season of discouragement derail you from the one you love the most.
Ps 34:17,18 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
If you are discouraged, take heart.
Things are not always what they seem, just as Peter would find out a few days later when he sees the empty tomb and the risen Christ standing on the seashore.
Jesus had risen, just as he said.
Not only that, Jesus restored Peter and sent him right back to work on the mission of the Gospel.
All that disappointment and discouragement ended when Jesus stepped back into Peter’s situation.
You might be disappointed and discouraged at the state of your marriage, your kids’ life choices. Things didn’t turn out like you planned…
You might be disappointed or discouraged in how it feels like the church is not growing like you hoped.
You might think that it’s all over, that the dream is over.
Well, God isn’t finished yet.
Jesus still gets the final word in our situation, AMEN?
2Co 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight.
Even when things look bleak, we live by faith, not by sight.
When the odds seem stacked against us, we live by faith, not by sight.
Don’t let your enemy, discouragement, blind you.
God is faithful.
Jesus is about to reappear in your world and in your situation.
Weariness, misplaced excitement and discouragement are enemies in your journey of following Jesus.
What will you do when your enemy comes knocking?
God is near to weary people when we HALT and hope in Him.
God helps us stay holy when excitement tries to distract us.
God’s not finished working, even if we are discouraged.
You walk by faith, not just by sight.
Sun Tzu said, “If you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.”
Know your enemy. Know yourself.
Let me add one more part for the believer –
Know the God who is on your side.
God is on your side. You will win this battle.