Man’s Dilemma and Its Remedy
By: James Foley
Text: Luke 21: 5-38
In our text we find mans dilemma. The reading is lengthy, but necessary to show the severity of mans dilemma. The whole world is in turmoil today. In our text we can see the full scope of this world-wide turmoil. Religious turmoil: turmoil of nations: turmoil of nature: turmoil in personal lives and family relationships. Everywhere we look we see this turmoil and the resulting confusion and moral decay it generates. Peace seems to be an elusive dream, often spoken of, but always just beyond our grasp.
Why is it that, of all the great minds and great nations of this world, there is not one that is able to bring peace? Not one that can turn back the moral decay and right the wrongs of a society seemingly bent on self destruction?
The great minds of our time would shrug their shoulders in response to this question, but there is an answer; there is a remedy to man’s dilemma. But sadly it lies just beyond the grasp of natural man’s ability to comprehend. The short answer to this question is simply that mankind, outside of God, cannot see the root of the prOBlem. We look at people and nations as the source, never once realizing that there is a power behind people and nations and that this power is spiritual, not physical.
This power is evil in its very nature and it has been with us from the beginning. It has a name and his name is The Devil, Satan, The Prince of Darkness, The god of this world. He has instituted a masterpiece of deception that dates back to the Garden of Eden. Actually his masterpiece is twofold. The first is the idea that he does not exist. Consider how he appeared to Eve on that fateful day. The whole world is deceived into thinking that he is a fictional character. You are seen as simple minded and gullible if you believe that there is a real Devil. 2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
The second part of his masterpiece is false religion. He perverted Scripture when he approached Eve. Gen. 3:1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
This second part of his masterpiece is almost impossible for people to see unless they know what to look for. He puts this into play when someone, by God’s Holy Spirit, begins to see some little glimmer of truth and light. It is then that he inserts false religion. Luke 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. This part of his masterpiece is very insidious, it can work in two ways. It can work to keep people from the truth when they hear it, but it can also draw people away from the truth once they have heard it. I have seen this principle at work many times. No sooner than someone says yes to God and becomes saved, then there is some false religion that comes knocking at their door. I have seen this in effect in both personal lives as well as churches in a community.
2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
So then, we have established that there is a very real evil, in the form of a spiritual being called Satan. Having done this it becomes paramount that we understand that both our dilemma and its remedy are on a spiritual plane. This simply means that the reason nations and our great thinkers are at a loss to find a remedy is because they are attempting the impossible; that is; they are using the wrong weapons. They use worldly, physical weapons where only spiritual weapons will prevail. James 4:1-7. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot OBtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Evil cannot be fought against with evil. Mankind, outside of Christ is evil. So then, if we are to fight against evil, it must be with good. Herein lies a prOBlem; do we have any good? Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Mat. 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? Man, in his natural state is subject to the power of Satan, he is the god of this world. They have no weapons!
What are the weapons of spiritual warfare? First we note that the source of our weapons and any strength we might have to wield them is God. Eph.6:10 -11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
In Eph. 6:12 we see the magnitude of our prOBlem. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. This is way beyond our ability to combat in our natural state.
Ok, we have seen the enormity of man’s dilemma, now we will look at the remedy for this dilemma.
Eph. 6:13 begins with the word “wherefore”, or because of what was said in Ver.12 we need the whole armor of God. Why is it that the Christian can withstand all that the world can throw at him? Rom. 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. It is because it is God that holds him up. When we have done all that we can in our own strength and can do no more, still we can stand with God’s help and weather the storm.
Eph. 6:14 And now we get into the actual armor of the Christian. Each piece is indispensable; each has its specific purpose. Here in Ver.14 we have the Christians loins girt about with truth. To have our loins girt about with truth means to put on Christ as a garment, for he is truth. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. This is the only way to God. The breastplate of righteousness is the second piece of armor. It protects our vital parts, such as our heart. It is listed second because without truth, there can be no righteousness. Truth is first and begets righteousness, and this righteousness is not ours, it is the righteousness of Christ.
It is interesting to note the order of these pieces of armor. To reverse this order is to reject all that God is. Paul said this about righteousness: Rom 10:3 for they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Back in Ver.1 he prayed for Israel to be saved, which would bring about true righteousness. Putting righteousness before truth, or salvation only results in man’s righteousness, which is not acceptable to God. His order is reversed. At the moment of the acceptance of truth (Jesus) we are covered by righteousness, His righteousness. Phil. 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Eph. 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Once we know the truth and have righteousness is the only time we can prepare to fight the spiritual battle. Notice I said “prepare”, because being newly saved, or born again, we must have preparation. No soldier goes to war without proper training. This is why we have the Bible, so that we might be able to fight the good fight of faith effectively.
Paul speaks of this in this way: 1Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may OBtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to OBtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: Paul strove to fight effectively.
Eph. 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Faith is the believer’s most important tool, as well as a vital piece of his armor. It is also the most difficult for him to master. Faith is not an intangible, as the world thinks it is. They speak of blind faith and they envision our faith as being blind simply because they can neither see it or our God, so to them our faith is blind.
In reality our faith is solid and immovable if exercised properly. Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Here we see two things that the world cannot see and knows nothing of. But we who live by faith can see it and are the recipients of the rewards of living our lives by faith. Two things of note in this verse are that it says that faith is substance and evidence. Let’s read it again.
Hebrews 11 is said to be the faith chapter, and so it is. Please take time to read this at home and you will see why it is called the faith chapter. Faith then is our shield, as this verse points out. Faith is what will pull us through when all else has failed. Once again it is needful to point out that the faith we speak of is not our own: Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
Eph. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: We cannot hope to help ourselves or others, spiritually speaking, or even begin to fight a fight of faith until we have the helmet of salvation. It is impossible to fight God’s enemies when we are on their side, when we are yet enemies ourselves.
Col. 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
And now we come to the only offensive weapon in our list of the armor of God. It is listed here as the sword of the Spirit. As such it is defined in our text as The Word of God. Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Ironically, it is by His word that His enemies become His friends. His word is able to cut through the smoke screen they put up. It is able to see through all the evil thoughts and intents of their heart. All excuses are put aside by it and the reality of their lost condition is brought out into the light of day.