Where the Devil Attacks the Body of Christ Jn. 17:1-26 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
There are several things going on among Christians in the body of Christ that are keeping the body from functioning as one like God intended. You can see these things in Jn 17 because Jesus prayed about them before he died on the cross. You can tell that these are important areas because the words of his prayer were recorded as a reminder to us.
From the contents of Jesus’ prayer in Jn 17, we can see where the devil attacks the body of Christ. He attacks the body’s:
Salvation – Jn 17:2-5 – he weakens Christians’ understanding of Bible salvation by getting them to believe that many who are not really saved are and by getting people who are saved to think they night not be; he creates lots of confusion about how to get into the body and stay in the body – doctrines like predestination to salvation and universal salvation have nearly destroyed the body’s ability to reproduce.
Scripture – Jn 17:6-8 – he attacks the authority of the word of God – he does this by getting Christians to doubt the Bible rather than believe it, to favor scholarship over inspiration, to favor a corrupt line of Bibles over his preserved line and to favor their interpretation over Bible doctrine.
Separation – Jn 17:9-16 – the devil has created a breakdown of separation from the world by introducing worldliness into the churches as a means of building up the church – worldliness may be building larger congregations but it is not building the body of Christ or edifying the saints in it.
Sanctification – Jn 17:17-19 – sanctification is the process by which the truth sets us apart from sin and grows us up in the Lord so that we can serve him as he pleases – today they turn away their ears from the truth [2 Tim 4:2-4] and will not endure sound doctrine – so the saints [if they are in fact children of God] are not being sanctified by the words of God.
Singleness – Jn 17:20-23 – the devil does this by breaking up what should be one – what the Lord divides, the devil puts together and what the Lord unites, the devil divides – in 1 Cor 1:10-13, the church was divided over differences and Paul said they should be of the same mind – the thing that divides is doctrine and to stay one the churches are throwing doctrine out [see scripture above] – but that’s not the way the Lord wants us to stay together – he wants us to believe the same doctrine and thereby be one [Eph 4:11-16].
Sympathy – Jn 17:24-26 – we are where Christ is [Eph 2:6] and so our affections should be on things above, as well – and furthermore, Jesus prayed that “the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” – we are so connected with God that our affection is on him because his love is in us – the devil tries to get us to love the world, instead [1 Jn 2:15-17; Jas 4:4], and thereby break up our sympathy with God.
Conclusion: As with any attack by an enemy, you must determine the most likely points of attack in order to counter his moves. These six points are the main areas where the devil attacks the body of Christ. So, it is vital to the health of the body that you shore up your understanding of salvation [be sure that you are saved and know for sure that others not in Christ are not], that you hold to the scripture [the King James Bible], that you keep out worldliness by separation, that you keep your ears tuned to the truth for your sanctification, that you stay as one in singleness with Jesus Christ and those in the body of Christ, and that you maintain sympathy with the love of God and the things God loves.