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May 29, 2024

You Are Not the Enemy (Judges 12)

Preacher:
Passage: Judges 12
Service Type:

In his sermon titled "You Are Not the Enemy" based on Judges 12; Pastor Allen Victor of Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville explored the theme of misdirected conflict among believers. He began by emphasizing that while we are indeed in the midst of a spiritual battle, we often end up fighting the wrong enemy. Satan delights in turning us against each other, using our emotions, past experiences, disagreements, friends, family, and even our brothers and sisters in Christ to sow discord. However, Pastor Victor reminded us that our spouses, children, fellow Christians, and even neighboring churches are not the enemy.

He then delved into the story of Jephthah and the Ephraimites from Judges 12:1. The Ephraimites accused Jephthah of going into battle without them and threatened to burn his house down. This accusation was made without verification, highlighting the common error of jumping to conclusions without understanding the full story. Pastor Victor referenced Proverbs 25:8 to underscore the importance of seeking the whole truth before acting.

Jephthah responded by explaining that he had indeed called for their help, but they did not respond. This miscommunication led to both parties feeling offended, illustrating how easily conflicts can escalate when communication breaks down. Jephthah's frustration was palpable when he pointed out that the Ephraimites were now ready to fight him despite not aiding him earlier. Pastor Victor warned against reacting in pride when falsely accused, a form of pride that can blind us to our own faults.

The sermon further explored how past experiences influence present perceptions. The Ephraimites dismissed Jephthah's leadership because of his past as a fugitive. Pastor Victor noted that while our sins may be forgiven, the scars they leave on others' memories can take time to heal, requiring us to rebuild trust patiently.

The conflict escalated, leading to a tragic battle where forty-two thousand Ephraimites were killed. Pastor Victor posed the critical question of who really won this conflict, concluding that no one does when brothers fight against brothers, whether in families, marriages, or church communities. The story serves as a powerful reminder of the destructive consequences of internal strife.

In contrast, Judges 12:8-15 tells of the judges Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, who maintained peace not through diplomacy but by marrying their children to former enemies. This practice of peace through marriage had its pitfalls, as it could lead to idolatry, emphasizing the Biblical principle of not being unequally yoked (Exodus 34:12-16). Pastor Victor warned against missionary dating, where believers date unbelievers hoping to convert them, as it often leads to spiritual compromise.

Drawing from personal experience, Pastor Victor shared how he and his wife Gigi once viewed each other as adversaries in their early marriage conflicts. They learned to recognize that they were on the same team, which transformed their relationship from fighting against each other to fighting for each other against the true enemy—Satan.

He extended this principle to the church, stressing that denominational differences should not turn us into enemies. Instead, our real adversary is the devil, as stated in Ephesians 6:12. Internal conflicts weaken our collective strength, and every time a Christian couple divorces or churches divide over doctrinal issues, the devil wins.

To address conflicts, Pastor Victor advised humility, prayer, renewing our minds with Scripture, and engaging in dialogue based on Matthew 18:15. He emphasized the importance of listening, seeking biblical counseling if needed, and forgiving one another. He concluded by urging the congregation to identify and resolve any unresolved conflicts, always remembering who the true enemy is.

In summary, Pastor Victor's sermon was a powerful call to unity and understanding within the body of Christ. It highlighted the importance of identifying the real enemy and avoiding unnecessary battles that only serve to divide us. By following biblical principles, we can navigate conflicts with humility, patience, and love, strengthening our relationships and our faith community.

Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville, led by Pastor Allen Victor, invites you to join us for worship and fellowship.

#OurEmotions #TheEnemy #SpiritualBattle #UnityInChrist #ChristianConflictResolution #BiblicalCounseling

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