"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith." I Peter 5:8

THIS subject this morning is the sixth in the series designed to help the new convert. It would be impossible to consider vital issues for such a person without including one concerning the conflict in which he or she will be engaged. For want of a clear understandingly of the circumstances in which the new convert is placed he or she may easily be so bewildered as to indulge doubts of far reaching consequence. Let me, therefore, observe that


a normal person is conscious of moral issues, of right and wrong. Those standards are set by the society in which he finds himself. They are vastly different in different societies. The individual concerned thinks of these as struggles that appear to be between a higher and a lower self, but they are actually a struggle between deep inward longings after evil and the demands and restraints that are made by society. Society, for example, must preserve its physical existence by making laws against prostitution, marriage irregularities and divorce, but the present emphasis on sex indicates what the individual is thinking and desiring. That moral sense will be influenced in individuals by


If we seek the lower levels of society our conscience will ultimately come into line with the folk whose fellowship we seek. We can become drunkards, swearers, adulterers, thieves and conscience may become inaccessible. We may keep to the average level of society, avoiding excesses, at least publicly, and then our conscience is thoroughly muzzled in an amazing self-righteousness that makes it impervious to any light. Or we may come in contact with born again Christians when we become conscious of elevated desires which awaken us to a new moral world. If it is an evangelistic campaign we may come out, and it all depends what is in our minds and how we are instructed. Actually, what has happened is that our consciences have been sharpened, and how some friend helps us while the conscience is so sharpened is all important. But let us remember that a sharpened, alerted conscience, valuable as it is, has no authority, weight, or power in itself. We are still "dead in sin ". But when we are BORN AGAIN our spirit dead in sin is brought to life by our Lord in heaven. We are constituted sons of God, partakers of the Divine nature, and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. We are turned from idols to serve the living and true God. We confess with the mouth Jesus as Lord, we are identified with the death of Christ and His resurrection in baptism, and henceforth we stand before God, before angels, before men as one whose supreme concern in life is the will of God. The fact that the new convert is a born again son of God, dedicated to know and do the will of God


After a spiritual lull, in which his self confidence is encouraged, he suddenly finds himself projected into a situation of which he has never dreamed. He discovers how difficult it is to hate all sin, how terribly hard it is to deny his old nature. How strong is a power that presses him to evil and in sober truth, in a way that he has never experienced before, sin comes to life within to an extent and in directions that astound him. It is with him as it was with our Lord as He came up out of the Jordan filled with the Spirit. The enemy, the devil, challenges the convert on the ground of his sonship and exercises every possible form of ingenious subtlety to bring him down and to imperil his soul. It depends on the individual concerned, and how best the will of God in him can be foiled, as to the nature of the challenge. But the whole object will be that since the god of this world has failed to keep his mind closed against Christ the Lord of glory, he will now proceed to do all he can to frustrate the will of God in the convert. He may aim at


If the believer has gone forth in his own strength, making great assertions, publicly proclaiming his new position, especially if he is urged to go round making testimony without fully being established in the truth, then the enemy of souls will certainly try to bring him down in such a way that he becomes a laughing stock to the world and a menace to any who are wistfully seeking after God. Or he may aim at


The converted wife may find strange issues arising between herself and her husband, or the husband may find his wife very difficult. The son or the daughter converted may find parents a big challenge, because they do not understand what it means to be born again. So the net is spread and the new convert loses the temper or in some other way plainly imperils the name of the Lord and is broken forever within the home. There are Christians who are simply wonderful outside their homes, but the moment they come back from a meeting the devil has them in his grip as sure as a man chains up his dog in a kennel. Or it may be


This is a favourite device of the devil. He knows our affection for a sin that we feel to be almost essential to our happiness and content. It may not be in the category of what we call "serious sin ", but we know, God knows, and the devil knows, it is something to which we cling, well knowing it to be contrary to the will of God. There it is, and we are chained to it. The devil can bring us to commit it almost whenever he pleases. We are convicted about it, we are ashamed, but we go on with our Christian profession, Christian service, well knowing that the powers of evil have us in their grip in this thing. We do not want to be hypocrites, but we are, and our life with the Lord is grievously affected. Or he may paralyse us


There he knows how to play upon our fears about our income, our position with our fellows, and our ambitions to get on. He puts us in all sorts of positions wherein if we stand in the will of God we may incur the disfavour of others or lose their respect or influence. He knows how to place our souls in jeopardy until the man who is taking the offertory on Sunday can be completely divorced from the man who goes to business on Monday! And he can, if the man enters the ministry, under the pressure and tension of ministry, make a man to be most earnest for souls while he is preaching a sermon and his heart to be absolutely indifferent about them immediately he has finished! Paul could write " we are not ignorant of his devices " but I greatly fear the rest of us have much to learn! Or he can do it in


How difficult it is in social circles to stand for the will of God. We do not like to be considered "kill-joys " and so we make concessions. Along come friends on Sunday, just as we are going off to service. Our relatives do not understand us and think we are transformed, as indeed we are. Neighbours do not understand why we have changed our appetites, and all this causes embarrassment. All of us desire the good will and opinion of our fellows. We do not want to be narrow-minded, we are tempted to order our conduct to correspond as far as possible with the views of those who are dead in sin and especially as we see professedly long standing Christians doing so. We join all sorts of societies, not necessarily bad in themselves, but which imperil our absolute loyalty to the Lord, and so the enemy keeps us in his will and out of the will of God. So he sees that the evil pressure upon him can be simply stated. It is that while the new convert has been saved to do the will of God all the challenges that come are designed to


in his life. What he has to learn is that while we are in this present body we cannot be impervious to temptation. There is a personal power, supernatural, evil and opposed to the purpose of God that seeks to keep alive the old nature and to pervert God's will and plan in the life of the believer. The new convert must be very careful here. The conflict is not between himself and God, but between the powers of darkness and himself as a son of God. If he does not realise this, his reaction may be against God instead of being against the powers of evil who plan his ruin as a child of God. It is a challenge and a conflict never to be known by a man of the world for his one concern is his own will, which the devil turns to his own ends with ease. As he reads the Scriptures he will realise, however, that his own personal experience of conflict gives him insight into a situation of alarming proportions. He finds that


in the universe is tremendous and awful. The Word of God will teach him that the devil, called Satan, and many other titles, is a supernatural being of far reaching power. He has at his command, fallen angels, demon spirits and other evil beings, who are determined and ruthless in their opposition to the will of God. They are the unrelenting enemies of every man, woman and child who, embracing the Lord as Saviour, seeks to know and do the will of God. The Scriptures will teach him that these powers


The problems that statesmen seek to solve in world peace are more than political issues. Towering above the nations are world powers whose design is to frustrate the kingdom of God. They hold the nations in their grip. " The whole world lieth in the evil one ". Wars are fought for righteousness, but righteousness never emerges. One enemy to world peace is broken and defeated and another rises in his place. There is no peace between the nations and they are all too much afraid of each other to be able to trust each other. Even financially the powers of evil are bringing the human race to damnation by the cost of manufacturing the weapons of war and training scientists to produce them and soldiers to use them. The world is sinking to poverty because we have to choose guns instead of butter. The Christian sees that and knows how utterly hopeless is the world of politics. He sees the power of Satan in


There he sees how supremely man loves a religion in which he does as he is told. He sees that religion is made to serve the ends of society and the programmes of man and is divorced from the will of God. He sees that the powers of darkness hold the millions of India, China and the East in their absolute control within religion. He sees in Europe the dread hand of Romanism keeping the people the helpless slaves of the priest and presenting to the people the authority of what is called the CHURCH, but failing to present them with the free grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He sees their power in


It may be that previous generations were delivered from statistics, or it may be that in truth society is getting more involved, but crime amongst the youth of the world is increasing and society by all its devices is seeking to handle the problem. The answer to it is not in religion but in Christ. The new convert has been made a new creation in Christ and he sees clearly that is the need of every other human being. Social issues can never be solved by social means. They may be alleviated as to their influence and extent, but society remains essentially the same. The powers of darkness are working in this field with marked success. All this he now sees and he becomes aware of something of which he has never before dreamed: a terrible universal conflict between these evil powers and God and His Beloved Son. With


they hold the souls of men for all eternity. Apart from the victory of our Lord no human soul could escape from their power in this world or in the next. They rule the nether world of Hades, they dominate the human race from the air, and apart from the redeeming victory of Christ, the lot of any and every human being would be utterly hopeless. So the new convert finding all this focussed in his own heart experience, has need to understand that while he is saved, to know the inward peace and power of God which will be his everlasting joy and peace, yet he faces a terrible conflict. The nature and power of which he must by no means underestimate. What shall he do? Recognising the fact of these evil powers he is to make it a duty to


He is not to assume he knows it. He is not to take it for granted that his conscience is infallible. He is not to govern his life by what he thinks, because in the realm of what he "thinks" the powers of darkness will bring him to spiritual disaster. He is not to be content to consider any part of the will of God which is forced upon him by reading the Bible or by preaching, because if that is his device the devil will see that he is skilfully side tracked from such occasions. He will soon lose the desire for the house of God, or if he does not altogether lose it, he will be kept away whenever the message is likely to be one to open his eyes! The one line of deliverance is to determine by the grace of God to search the Word of God in order to know the will of God. To seek the fellowship of godly Christians whose lives commend the will of God and to exchange thoughts with them and to seek continually the expounding of the Word in order to learn in every way possible the will of God. Less than this will make him an easy prey for the powers of darkness. Then by the grace of God he is


It must be understood between the Lord and the convert that as a child of God he is in the world henceforth to do the will of God. God will in the utmost tenderness reveal His will gently and graciously if He find the convert sincere and earnest. All the power of God will be with him if he longs to know and to do the will of God. Hence he knows it to be his duty in all circumstances and situations, however costly and embarrassing, no matter what others may think or say, he must and will choose to honour the Lord by his simple obedience to the will of God as he knows it. He will remember


He is the disciple of the Living Lord in heaven who has conquered Satan on this earth, in Hades, in the air and is waiting for the day to bring the last enemy death to destruction. By the grace of God as Jesus the Conqueror is in heaven so the new convert is in this world. This is the spiritual realistic fact he must ever believe and never deny. Then he knows that the Lord in heaven ever lives to make intercession for him. In some mysterious ministry he cannot explain, there is exercised between the Father in heaven and the Lord Jesus that which means absolute omnipotence in every situation for the believer as he stands in the will of God. He knows, too, that the Holy Spirit indwells him and that "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world." Thus the believer stands fast in the Lord. In this assurance he resists the devil. He is confident that as he thus stands fast the Lord will show him the way by which he can escape the subtle toils of the evil one and be victorious. In every challenge of Satan, as surely as we have all the resources of the Lord, so surely we are given the insight to see the way of escape, "the going up out of " to victory. Thus the new convert will come to a realistic understanding of the facts of life such as few of his fellows know even in Christian circles. So he may know the power of the Living God in all His omnipotence in his poor, quivering, faltering heart. So he may face the onslaughts of the savage hosts of evil coming to him in every conceivable disguise to bring his soul to damnation. Even so he may conquer, and conquering, qualify to fight the hosts of evil on levels of spiritual experience more menacing to them and more exhilarating to him until he shall be more than a conqueror through Him Who first had the victory.

Menu Page 1 Menu Page 2 Menu Page 3 Menu Page 4 Menu Page 5