September 2015

Introducing The Enemy Within

1. Because the study for this fall is a good follow-up to our
focus on knowing God.

For two years we have made the pursuit of the knowledge of God the priority for our Wednesday evening services. The feedback from the congregation has been extremely positive. However, when one very sincere and faithful member of our group stated that given how wonderful the material has been she wished the subject had made a greater impact on her, my mind traveled to a book I was then reading entitled, The Enemy Within.

This book focuses on the power of sin to block our most heart-felt and diligent pursuit of the sweet knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is therefore a very appropriate follow-up for us. The pursuit of Christ places us on the front-line of battle where victories are not readily won. This book will fortify our efforts to know God!

2. Because The Enemy Within is a “user friendly” version of John Owens’ treasured writings entitled Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin.

John Calvin has been labeled the Church’s genius from Europe, and Jonathan Edward’s her genius from the United States, while Owens has been described as the genius of the Church from Great Britain. He is one of the most famous of the Puritans who lived in England from 1616 to 1683. The above two works on sin by Owens have been digested by thousands of saints seeking intimacy with the Lord. But today it is very likely that relatively few believers are tapping into these two profoundly life changing books.

John Owens’ writings are voluminous and powerful. However many sincere believers now find him difficult to read and to digest. His writings are jammed with keen Biblical insight. His style is what one might call pithy. That is to say that Owens condensed an immense amount of keen Biblical insight into every one of his sentences. Compounding this difficulty, most of his sentences are quite lengthy.

Knowing how invaluable Owens’ works Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin are to the Church in her pursuit of intimacy with Christ, while also aware of how hard Owens is for most believers in our Christian culture to read, the author of The Enemy Within, Pastor Kris Lungaard, spent hours and hours studying these two writings. He then shaped The Enemy Within into a “user friendly” version of Owens’ masterful works on the power of sin to block our view of the majesty of Christ.

In his preface to The Enemy Within, Pastor Kris writes of the great effort he took to own Owens’ insights into the power and destruction of indwelling sin. He states,

“It was for my mind the back-breaking work of digging a mine with a pickaxe. But there was gold along the way – not just a handful of dust, but a mother-lode-full of nuggets. The gold I found was hope, renewed love for Christ, an approach to holiness by faith in Him. Along the way I was sick to my stomach over my sin, yet somehow lifted up to the cross for deliverance. When I finished Indwelling Sin, I didn’t miss a beat, but drove my pick into The Mortification of Sin. By now the whole way I looked at holiness was changing, and I believed that by God’s grace, looking into the face of Christ to see His glory, I could resist sin to the point of shedding my blood (Hebrews 12:1-4).”

3. Because The Enemy Within will fortify us to defeat sin so that we might pursue Christ with greater effectiveness:

Pastor Lungaard combines Owens’ insight from the Scriptures with practical guidelines that will help us take steps to defeat specific sins that often hinder our communion with the Lord. Each chapter is calculated to fan the flame of our 1ST love for Christ. The book builds to a crescendo providing those who deeply digest it with renewed passion to fight the deceitfulness of sin in its efforts to prevent the Holy Spirit from disclosing the beauty of Christ to our earnest and hungry souls. Thus The Enemy Within will both arm and inflame us to pursue the face of Jesus Christ.

4. Because the weekly work required in the study of The Enemy Within will be a welcome break to those of you who were diligent to study Dr. Packer’s remarkable book, Knowing God:

While Knowing God was well worth all the pain and effort it took to study it carefully, this effort was very time consuming. Pastor Lungaard’s book will not take nearly as long each week for you to get ready for the Wednesday night sessions. Each chapter is only 10 to 12 pages long at the most. At the end of every chapter the book will pro-vide you with probing questions to help you reflect on what you have learned. These questions will prepare you for our Wednesday night discussions. The fall season is daunting for some of us with the holidays rapidly approaching. Thus our next study will be a welcomed break for many of us.

I say this not to encourage our group to slack off. On the contrary! But the subject matter for our new study will give us much needed time to review, to internalize, and to meditate on the material. The benefit of such intense, concentrated intake will Lord willing grant us great encouragement in our battle to follow the example of Paul, who by God’s grace, [1 Cor 15:10] pressed on [Phil 3:12-14] to pursue our great God and Savior.

Philippians 3:8 - More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

Pastor Blain

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427