“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 20:31-32 (NLT)
Something happened in our nation 9/11/2001—something “we will never forget.” On that day:
- 2996 Americans lost their lives in the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks
- 6000 more were injured
- in the wars that followed in Afghanistan and Iraq 7200 more Americans died
All this can be traced back to 1 man and his diabolical plan. The man was in his 50’s, the son of a billionaire and he hated the western world and he hated Christianity.
The FBI and the CIA put a certain label on him: H.V.T. (“High Value Target”)
Osama bin Laden became an HVT. He made the FBI/CIA most wanted list. For 13 years they searched for him. He went into hiding—he was isolated and secluded. He refused to use his cell phone. He would never go on the internet. He would not even allow his garbage to be collected—he had a certain way of doing away with it— so that he would leave no traces of his existence
The US government put out a $25 million reward on Osama bin Laden and the Airline Association offered another $2 million. That’s a total of $27 million for anyone who could give information leading to this terrorist.
Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization, operated and communicated through couriers in Pakistan. Thousands of CIA/FBI agents searched for this one man, this High Value Target.
They disguised themselves as part of Al Qaeda working 24 hours a day for 13 years. One name kept coming up, a courier in Pakistan. Hundreds of agents were deployed secretly to watch this man. Every movement that he made was tracked. Finally, in 2010 they found and located him.
He made a vital mistake. He used his cell phone which he was not supposed to do. They were able to trace that one phone call to a compound in Pakistan. He had gotten relaxed. He thought he could get by with it. He let his guard down. Just 1 time on his iPhone. (Be careful what you do with that little iPhone.)
Then, with heat seeking cameras, they began to notice a tall, slim man at the compound who would come out only at night to walk around and stretch his legs. Strange! Why does he only come out at night?
They pinpointed his bedroom. They knew which bed he was in. They knew he had security officers with weapons. It was apparent this was someone unusual. They watched and studied when his security was most slack.
According to Luke 20, you have an enemy. He desires to have you sifted. You are a High Value Target. You are someone the enemy is after. Every day he wants you. He is looking for your weak point. He wants to destroy your family. He wants to destroy your marriage. He wants to destroy your purpose and your calling.
When the FBI and the CIA were convinced he was the terrorist, they sent 4 helicopters (Navy Seals Team 6 ~ elite warriors—the best, the smartest, the most dangerous). They went in after him.
Be careful what you allow into your life. The more you know about God and the longer you walk with God, and the more Bible you understand, the more you become a High Value Target. You make hell’s most wanted list.
The enemy loves High Value Targets. He loves pastors’ kids and second, third and fourth generation Christian families. He loves to get in those families and take out a high value target and begin to change the blessing on that family into a curse, into something that brings pain and hurt.
If you know the Word, you can’t relax. Your enemy wants your faith to fail. If you’ve been in church a long time, you can’t kick back because that actually makes you a High Value Target. You know how to pray. You know how to fast. You know Truth. You know the name of Jesus and the power of salvation. And the enemy wants YOU. Hell is sending it’s best forces—it’s elite Navy Seal team after you. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.
Hell is coming after you to “sift” you, Jesus said. The word “sift” means to separate. When you sift wheat you shake it until there is a separation. The enemy wants to sift and separate HVTs from spiritual friends, from worshipping friends, from a mom and dad who love God and love you, from pastors and spiritual voices so he can pull you away from the right people and get you connected to the wrong people. Hell’s trying to sift you, to make your faith fail.
He doesn’t care how much it costs. They didn’t care that it would cost $27 million to find one terrorist and the enemy doesn’t care what it costs him to get you out of your calling and out of your destiny. He’ll do whatever he has to do.
You are a (High Value Target).
You are on hell’s most wanted list. The devil wants you so bad. If you serve as an usher, a greeter, if you are a soul winner, a singer, a prayer intercessor, if you are living for Christ with character and integrity, you are a HVT. The enemy wants to take you down and take your character down so it will have a domino effect on many others in your circle of influence.
Your enemy studies you:
- your movements
- the music you listen to
- the movies you watch
- websites you go to
- your habits
He wants to pull you out of the safety zone of God’s House, out of the Word of God, and out of the safety zone of good counsel from moms and dads and spiritual people who love you. The devil is studying every one of us! He knows you better than you know yourself.
The enemy would love to destroy your marriages, your children, and mess up your families.
But he will not by the grace of God: Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.
How many of you have felt the enemy’s attacks? If you feel like you are under attack, and if you feel like you’ve made hell’s most wanted list, you are a High Value Target!
The enemy would love to take you out because it effects everybody you have great influence with.
Here is your Hope, your Encouragement, your Truth. This is God’s Word to you:
Jesus is our intercessor. He is pleading in prayer for you this very day.
When you feel like giving up, when you feel like you can’t go on, know that Jesus eternally lives to make intercession for you. You’re gonna make it.
But you’ve got to do your part:
- Come to church. Don’t get lax.
- Stay in the Word: The Power of God and the Word of God are your greatest defense
- Pray: The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing
- Get in a Small Group so that you will be strengthened by other Believers
There is power in the blood of Jesus Christ and His power can absolutely cause us to overcome all the power of the enemy.
No scheme of hell will work if we are connected. He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High, in the shadow of the Almighty will say I am trusting in You, Lord. You are my refuge and my strength. (Psalm 91)
Our faith won’t fail, if we stay connected to the Vine. “Without Me you can do nothing,” Jesus said. But through Him, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
portions adapted from a sermon by franklin jentezen