We are AT WAR!
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.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
2 Tim 2:1-
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
It is clear that we, as members of the Body of Christ are engaged in a war. The war itself was already won 2000 years ago at the cross, however
the war for men’s souls rages on and as the end nears, Satan’s plan is to take as many with him as he can.
There are some saints that take the position that we should just rest in our salvation; just be content that we are saved, enjoy the show and do nothing.
Certainly the present-
The reason that we, as believers, come under attack from the enemy is not an issue of our salvation. As we know (or should know, that is) we can rest in that. However are we to hold onto the truth and keep it to ourselves? We might be saved but if the enemy has his way we won’t duplicate ourselves. We won’t take anyone with us.
Any works that we do beyond salvation are an issue of reward in our life in the future:
1 Co 3:11-
11 ¶ For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
1 Tim 1:18-
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Who are we at war with?
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? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.  They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
Bible Version Note: Our adversary is not nearly as obvious as he should be because he has hidden himself from view. How? His name is not mentioned anymore. In fact “Morning star” is often attributed to the Son of God in Lucifer’s place because of this mistake.
Isaiah 14:12 (NIV)
How you have fallen from heaven,
O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
We are at war with the same enemy that was present at the creation. He’s just as crafty as he ever was.
Our war today is not flesh, but in the mind!
2 Cor 10:3-
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
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. 12 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. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Highlight mine)
What are the stakes?
In consideration of the fact that in this dispensation salvation is a present possession, then what is to be gained by being involved in a war?
The stakes of the war are two-
1 Cor 3:8,14-
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one:and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
1 Cor 3:14-
If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
How can we fight effectively?
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Back to the lesson text …
V13: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
1 Tim 4:13-
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
This is not talking about salvation from a spiritual standpoint here – Paul is already talking to believers. This is talking about winning the battle over self!
2 Tim 2:3-
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Here’s a tough question: How entangled are we with the affairs of this life? Note that the question is not about us being in the world – but how hung up are we on it?
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Whatever may be taught, clear it with the Word of God and check it out to see whether those things were so! It was important that the Bereans received the word with all readiness of mind! Should we operate with any less of a standard?
2 Cor 12:7-
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
1 Cor. 2:16
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
If we have the mind-
1 Cor. 10:12-
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
We could get into all kinds of details here – what idolatry is, etc. but suffice it to say that idolatry is a real stumbling point that can render us ineffective. Idolatry takes many forms … perhaps a good subject for a future study.
2 Tim. 2:15-
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
Are there casualties?
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,  And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
1 Tim 1:18-
18 ¶ This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Are there civilians?
1 Cor. 14:37-
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
Yes … some (many?) saints simply do not get into the fight.
Can we avoid the fight?
Yes … but at the cost of losing rewards.
Rejection of Pauline Authority is a mark of ignorance. Many believers simply want to avoid the fight by falling in-
1 Cor 3:15
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.