Based on: I Peter 4

Most of us understand that as this age of grace comes to an end and the living God begins to bring this world and its rulers (visible and invisible) to account, the atmosphere of this world will be that of war, universal war. War that is utterly beyond the control or comprehension of any man.

Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say, as with a voice of thunder, "Come!" And I saw and behold, a white horse, and its rider had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say "Come!" And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword.

                                                                                    Revelation 6:1-4

From the moment of the breaking of the seals until the end of this age there will be war on the earth.

War in which awesome holiness and awesome unholiness will become visible to those who have eyes to see. There will be no question in their minds that God is doing something and that Satan is doing something. And every soul on earth will be aligned on one side or the other.

- All the facades will come off.

- All fronts will come down.

- Evil will no longer be hidden.

Men will see that Jesus wasn't paranoid when He talked about the prince of this world. And the apostles weren't deluded when they warned of the anti-christ and the false prophet.

We are living on the threshold of this period;

- the signs of its beginning are upon us,

- the day of grace is already sinking into twilight, preparing the way for a time of clouds and thick darkness, of blood, fire, and vapor of smoke.

But what most of us still do not grasp is that, for followers of Jesus, even these last fleeting days of God's age of grace are a time of war. That the war begins for the believer not at the breaking of the seven seals, but the instant you begin to follow Jesus. And it doesn't stop until either you have passed out of this body of flesh-and-blood or until you give up and go down in the defeat of unbelief.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother.

They will put you out of the synagogues (churches). Indeed the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.


Jesus never carried a sword,

never shed anyone's blood,

never fought over politics.

All Jesus ever did was preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. Yet, it was war from the time He began His ministry until they had Him nailed to that cross – at every step there were people who were trying to kill Him. Why? Because behind these people there was an unseen enemy.

The disciples went forth in peace.

- They weren't out to hurt anybody.

- They weren't trying to tear down the system.

All they ever did was preach Jesus, crucified and risen, and heal the sick. Yet every one of them, with the  possible exception of the apostle John, was murdered.

To this day when men and women give up playing their little churchy games and get down to seriously following Jesus, they suddenly become the object of anger, spite, hatred.

I'm not talking about believers who are obnoxious and are despised for it --- and think they're being persecuted,

I'm talking about obedient, disciplined followers of Jesus who live this gospel.

Why should they be hated? Because when you commit yourself to the Son of God, the Prince of this world becomes your enemy. He will seek to intimidate you,

to discourage you,

to confuse you,          

to make you feel like a fool. He will wait for opportunities when your faith is weak to come in as a wedge between you and your Lord.

God will do His part. God doesn't let us dangle out there without help or protection. Jesus doesn't throw us into that storm center of evil and then let us spin helplessly like leaves in the wind.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you."

"Lo, I am with you always to the close of the age."

"I have said these things to you to keep you from falling away."

There is no fire so hot, or trial so severe that Jesus can't get us through.

There are believers reading these words that are facing difficult circumstances. And there are others whose trials will soon be coming. No matter how rough it is or how hopeless it looks, the word of the Lord to you is; "Trust me. Trust me - I'll get you through. I'll make you more than a conqueror."

All authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and on earth. There are things that Jesus will do in your circumstances that you never even dreamed of. He will get you through!

But for the Son of God to preserve you in this war, there are some things that you have to do. God cannot do them for you - you have to do them. These things are contained in a brief paragraph sandwiched in the middle of Chapter 4 of I Peter, (which is all about the war believers have to endure).

The paragraph teaches that if you're going to make it in this war there are three things you will have to watch out for: prayerlessness, lovelessness, and fruitlessness.

Watch out for -

l. Prayerlessness: make sure that your relationship with God is clear.

"The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers."

None of us has an automatic prayer life. Maybe when you were first reborn it was easy to pray. Perhaps when you first experienced the fullness of the Spirit it was easy to pray. But it doesn't remain easy to pray for anyone.

- There are a million distractions.

- Our moods change.

- We can easily slip into a frame of mind in which prayer seems to be the most ridiculous thing in the world.

And the enemy will do everything in his power to keep you off balance so that you can't pray. And it's your responsibility to make sure that this doesn't happen.

Keep sane and sober for your prayers;

- so that you can pray without ceasing,

- so that your unconscious is anchored in God even while you are doing your daily work or playing with your children.

It will help if you start the day with your Lord and fall asleep at night with His name on your lips;

- and call on that name,

- and praise that name every hour of the day.

2. Watch out for lovelessness - keep your relationship with your brother/sister clear.

Above all hold unfailing love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another.

The army that has no unity, no love and trust binding one man to another, will fall apart when the battle starts going hard. And the believer who has no real unity with brothers and sisters will always lack  the power to survive.

Unfailing love for one another – not fair-weather love – not conditional love---love that never fails, is always there.

And notice that the command of the Spirit is not;

"Make sure other people love you with unfailing love",


"Make sure you love them with unfailing love (even if they don't seem to have that unfailing love for you.)

You show hospitality to them even if they don't show hospitality to you.

When the love fails, the power of God draws back and that man or woman or fellowship begins to die.

Do we really have unfailing love for one another? God help us to start with ourselves.

3. Watch out for fruitlessness - be diligent in the exercise of your gifts so that you bear fruit.

As each has received a gift, employ it for one another as good stewards of God's varied grace.

Whoever speaks as one who utters oracles of God.

Whoever renders service as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies, in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

You have a gift from God,

            - you are able to speak His name,

            - you are able to serve people in His name,

- you are able to discern the cry coming from their heart for which they can't find words,

- you are able to minister forgiveness, healing, encouragement, hope.

The problem is not, "Do I have a gift". Every believer has a gift from God - every believer. And you don't have to go to fifteen seminars to find out what it is.

The problem is that the gifts have to be exercised. And the gifts of God cannot be exercised, for instance, by lazy believers.

- You're not a good steward of God's grace when you're lazy.

- "You wicked and lazy servant", the Master said to the man who buried his talent.

There are too many believers who have been gifted by God but they're lazy - so their gifts rot!

You can't be Moses and Elijah with spiritual gifts when you're an Esau in your daily life.

Nor can the gifts of God be exercised by glory-hungry believers.

"On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name and do many mighty works in your name'?  And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you, depart from me you evil doers'."

Jesus calls them "evil doers". Why? Because they kept skimming off the glory for themselves.

"Did we not prophesy in your name? Look at all the wonderful things we did!"

When you get some of the glory, no matter how mighty your works are, as far as God is concerned they are tainted with evil.

Make sure that all service you render to God – in other words, all that you do - brings glory to God alone. None for you - all for God.

Nobody knows when the Lamb is going to begin to break the seven seals and the rider of the red horse will take all peace from the earth. But the war which will come to the surface on that day is already raging in the unseen realm of spirit and if we are born of the Spirit we are involved in war now.

There are only three things that can defeat us,

- prayerlessness,

- lovelessness,

- fruitlessness ; failure to exercise our ministries.

If we're stumbling it's because of at least one of these three things. God help us to see exactly which one it is and do something about it.

If you need to get back into relationship with God - do it.

If you need to get back into relationship with your brothers and sisters - do it.

If you need to get back to the work God gave you with the gift He gave you - do it.

And do it now!