The Enemy Within

The Deadliest Enemy – Destruction From Within

If history is any indicator – and it surely is, for as someone once said, “If we do not learn from history we are bound to repeat it”- then the most deadly and destructive forces and threats to any established institution, no matter how powerful or dominant they may have been at some previous point in time – often come from within the group itself and not from outside forces!

Is your heart your friend or enemy?

Is your heart your friend or enemy?

For example, throughout the ages several well-organized world superpowers (similar perhaps to the iron-fisted Roman Empire of the first few centuries) were incrementally eaten away at from inner decay, corruption, in-fighting and divisive power struggles. These inner contentions, which at the very most weakened, divided, and did to them what no other, outer force could ever hope to accomplish, and/or at the very least, softened them up, caused the cracks, and laid the destructive groundwork for the fissures which then allowed for said less-powerful outer forces to infiltrate, overcome, and annihilate them.

Many of those today who are predicting and seeking to prepare for the demise and fall of the American Empire as the current world superpower readily acknowledge and insist upon the fact, that due to her far superior military firepower over all the nations around her, her fall will not be the result of outside nations defeating her, but will instead result from her increasingly ungodly nature and the subsequent corruption, division, and ruin from within.

This truth is evident in epic biblical proportions as well. Go back and re-read through Deuteronomy and several of the O.T. history books chronicling the rise and fall of the Israelites as the people of God. It wasn’t all the nations around them that God drove out before them that got them; it was their own decided rebellion and disobedience to God’s commandments that got them. In other words, their demise and downfall wasn’t due to simply being overpowered and overcome by the onslaught of superior outside forces – even though God finally used outside forces to physically discipline, dominate, enslave and destroy them as His people. But that would have never been allowed by God if they had but simply repented and obeyed Him instead of foolishly and fatally following the prideful dictates of their own selfish and stubborn hearts, minds, and wills!

The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear to the elders of the first-century congregation of the church of Christ in Ephesus (Acts 20:17-32; See Ro. 16:16) that one of the greatest dangers they would face – in their case, from the outside at first, but then, once again – would arise from within (vss. 30-31).

Fast forward even so far as to the N.T. church of our Lord and Savior today. Let’s face it – news flash folks: In today’s America the greatest enemy of the Lord’s church is neither the government nor all the denominations around us despite what some might like to think. Let’s be honest; as much as some of us might like to point the finger of blame towards them, neither one of those anti-biblical groups or entities is going to waltz in here this coming Lord’s Day and either divide or destroy the Lord’s church. They don’t have to. Our clearest and most present danger is not from without, but from within; as each and every day, each and every member of the Lord’s church has at their constant and continual disposal, beck, and call, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction and division, which is able to divide, destroy, and annihilate entire congregations, reputations, and the relationships that have taken many decades to build and develop… and to destroy them in but one, single, satanic, seconds-long swipe. This is why James says: “See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell… [The tongue] is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:5b-10).

Jesus made it very clear that what comes out of a person’s mouth is nothing more than the overflow from what is found in their heart (Matt. 15:18-19). James went on to say the same thing in James 3:13-18, when he indicated that those who constantly criticize, cut down, cause confusion and seek to divide, conquer, and/or condemn their brethren out of either envy, jealousy, or prideful self-promotion, are actually acting in a very worldly and/or other-worldly way. Let none of us as God’s dear children ever be found guilty of such ungodly evil.

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