Spiritual Warfare

Intro -
Is anybody fired up to be in church today? Give God some noise...
Goal - Know… Believe and live the truth… So today we will learn some truth about spiritual warfare.
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They, themselves, are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight.” – C.S. Lewis
So there are two extremes he is talking about and we don’t want to be on either extreme. There is the human reasoning or scientific mind that tries to understand or explain away everything. And then there is the other extreme where people are super-mystical focused on a demon under every rock.
I believe that God has a lot to say to us if we will get out of the extremes and get in the middle where we can hear God’s Word.
Open up to Eph 6. We are going to camp out between Verses 10 and 18.
We are going to look at 3 foundational truths and then 3 practices that we have to do to fight the Spiritual Battles in our lives.

3 Foundational Truths

1. We have an enemy

Ephesians 6:10–11 NLT
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
We have an enemy called the devil which means accuser. And he wants to destroy your life. In other places he is called Satan which mean adversary or opponent.
The devil can and unfortunately does create a lot of fear in people. Many people see him as an ugly creature with a pitchfork. If that’s what he was no one would ever fall for his tricks. Satan was the worship leader in heaven and was a very beautiful angel.
So today, we will de mystify the devil. Here is why...
Football teams - look at film of their opponent so they know what their strategy will be.
When I toured Busch Stadium, the Cardinals had just won the worlds series and had the best pitching staff in baseball that year. The tour guide told us why the pitchers were so good. Yadia Molina, the catcher would watch film of the hitters they were going to face and develop a strategy to beat them.
That’s what we are going to do today.
First, I want you to know that Satan is not God… look at this.
Ezekiel 28:14–16 NLT
I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire.
Satan, the devil, or whatever you want to call him is a created being. He was created blameless and was a Guardian angel who rebelled against God and was kicked out of heaven for that sin.
So when he rebelled, its wasn’t some great battle that god could have lost. No, God just kicked him out of heaven.
Isaiah 14:12–15 NLT
“How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’ Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead, down to its lowest depths.
His sin was the “I will… ascend … preside… climb...”
The ultimate sin of Satan was that in his pride, he wanted to take God’s place and God said “not going to happen.”
So Satan was kicked out of heaven and since that moment, Satan opposes everything God is for. If God is for it, Satan is against it. He doesn’t want you to believe in God. If you believe he doesn’t want you to love God or follow God.
If living a moral life is what God wants for you, he wants you to live anyway you want to.
If tithing and handling your money responsibly is what God wants for you so he can bless you, the devil wants you to blow it all on fun stuff.
If coming to church is what God wants you to do, Satan will regularly put distractions in your life to keep you from attending and plugging into a church.
Satan opposes anything God is for. God is for you and me, so Satan opposes you and me.
Let’s look at some of the things the Bible says about him.
The devil is a liar
The devil is an accuser
The devil is an adversary
The devil is a tempter
The devil is a destroyer
The devil is a deceiver

Satan exist to deceive God’s children and defame God’s glory.

I became a Christian at 17. When I did, God changed my life and I fell in love with Jesus. describe some of my discipleship.
Has anyone ever played the Opposite game? -
up - down… hot - cold… win - lose...God - devil…
No God has no opposite. Look at this…
Jeremiah 10:6 NLT
Lord, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is full of power.
God has no equal and no opposite. Satan is a created being and he is nothing compared to God. He is not God, not even close. He is not all powerful… all knowing… not everywhere at once… Him and his demons are limited in their power. God knows your thoughts, Satan does not know your thoughts.
Satan even has to get permission from God to try to trick you. Job

God is almighty Satan is not almighty.

2. We are in a battle

Paul talks about the Christian walk being a battle or a fight or a struggle throughout his writings.
Ephesians 6:12 NLT
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
We are not fighting people, but spiritual rulers and authorities. Too many people think the fight is against someone, but the battle is against our enemy the devil.
fighting - wrestling match. We are in hand to hand combat. It’s intimate and personal. It’s not every now and then, he is coming after you all the time.
Coaches speeches… One coach said, “They are coming after you… your family… your friends… your teammates… it’s a dog fight, get out there and fight… “
Spiritual warfare is a dogfight. We are in hand to hand face to face combat.
Here is something that you need to know. We are in this fight whether you want to be or not… whether you recognize it or not.
Spiritual warfare is not an option; it's a necessity. If you're a child of God, you're in a battle for your faith." - Billy Graham
Write this down.
It’s a dog fight BG
We have an enemy and we are in a fight, but here is the good news…

3. We fight from victory.

How do we have victory? We have Jesus who went to the cross and destroyed the devil.
Colossians 2:13–15 NLT
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
He disarmed all those spiritual authorities of the devil. IOW, Jesus kicked his butt. He even publically humiliated the devil and his demons.
Jesus had the victory and here is how we see victory.
Ephesians 6:13 NIV84
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Stand - Our goal is to stand our ground.
We used to play a game with a circle and you had to through the opponent out of the circle. If you were in the circle, you just had to stand.
Spiritual warfare is standing your ground in the victory of Christ.

3 Essential Practices we must do!

1. Build up our spiritual strength.

That’s the first thing we have to do.
Ephesians 6:10 NLT
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Who are we to be strong in? We are strong in God’s strength. He said be strong… not get strong. God gives us the strength. It’s not like we have to work out to get stronger, he gives us his strength.
How can you be strong in the Lord? It’s all the things you should know already…
Be in the WOG. Read it, study it, meditate on it, apply it.
Prayer - time in prayer
Baptism of the HS
Worship -
It’s not these things that give you the strength … it’s experiencing God in these things that gives you strength.
Maybe you feel like you have tried. Maybe you have tried over and over again. You have tried to beat a temptation… to be a good parent… to follow the Lord… but you just keep messing up.
Listen, the Bible doesn’t say to try. Look what Paul told a young Timothy…
1 Timothy 4:7–8 NLT
Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
godless issues - false teaching… politics… nitpicking the scriptures… sometimes Christians believe that we need to answer every question and controversy. We do not need to chase every rabbit trail the devil throws out.
Often cults will use scripture to back up their points… it happens in our culture… people have used scripture out of context to argue opposite points…
We are not supposed to try, we are to train ourselves to live godly lives.
Learning scriptural principles of living for the Lord is better than cataloging issues and controversies.
Paul often talks about training like an athlete. Athletes are focused and committed, constantly training, refusing to let up and always striving to improve.
As believers, we should have the same focus and commitment to the truth and not allow ourselves to be sidetracked by godless ideas (wrong teaching).
Try - to make an attempt
Pass/Fail - Too often we approach things like this.
Train - to engage in a process of growth
It will have ups and it will have downs… If I just don’t quit, I will succeed.
Did you ride a bike without training wheels the first time? Most of us NO. Someone had to catch you to keep you from falling.
You don’t look like the body builders with one trip to the gym. I always say, I didn’t get this way over night and I win’t get out of it over night.
Stop trying and allow God to work in you. Let God do the work in you. All he wants from you is time with himself. We need to download HIS power.
Train over Try

2. Be covered in the full armor

Ephesians 6:14–17 NLT
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
He is telling us to wear the same armor Jesus is wearing.
Belt of truth vs. liar - Phil 4:8
The enemy is going to lie to you all the time.
Philippians 4:8 NLT
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
No to the enemy and yes to God.
Breastplate of righteousness vs. accuser - 2 CO 5:21
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Satan is constantly condemning you for sin. Jesus forgives your sin.
Shoes of peace vs. temptation - 1 CO 10:13
The shoes the Roman soldiers would wear had spikes in them do they could dig down and stand their ground. That’s what we have in the shoes of peace. We know we are at peace with God and have the peace of God and we can dig down and stand our ground.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
You don’t have to say yes to this temptation or any temptation. You can say no to it and yes to God.
Shield of faith vs. Adversary - Isa 54:17
Isaiah 54:17 NLT
But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!
God says we will win. No weapon that comes against us will succeed. Every weapon the devil uses against you will fail.
Helmet of Salvation vs. Destroyer - Isa 23:6
This is vital. The enemy is trying to destroy our minds. The culture of the day is trying to destroy our generations minds. Everything that you and I grew up thinking was right is not said to be bad.
Isaiah 26:3 NLT
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
If we are going to fight, we have have to light so we can pull people out of the darkness into the light.
How can we do that… the perfect peace of God.
Sword of the Spirit vs. Deceiver - John 17:17
It’s defensive and offensive.
John 17:17 NLT
Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
God’s word is a sword in our hands and Satan will flee.
Pray in the Spirit on all occasions.
Ephesians 6:18 NLT
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Praying in the Spirit allows the Spirit to help us when we pray because the HS actually prays on our behalf.
Praying in the Spirit makes God assessable.
Praying in the Spirit gives us confidence when we pray by helping us communicate with God and delivering His response to us.
Prayer is not just another weapon, it’s the way we use all the other weapons.
We must pray in all occasions. How do we do that? Prayers do not have to be long and flowing. Pray short prayers all day in response to situations you encounter.

God makes the armor available but we must choose to suit up.

We are living in a crazy world, so we better suit up before we head out. We don’t need to leave the house with fear, we can walk out with confidence in our great God.
We don’t have to be afraid of an enemy that’s already been defeated.

We boldly advance the Gospel

Ephesians 6:18–20 NLT
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
The whole purpose of the armor is to advance the Gospel, which is the last thing the devil wants.

The armor defends us but the gospel takes ground

I don’t know if you have noticed, but We don’t have armor on the back because we don’t retreat, we advance with the Gospel of Jesus.
We want to see people know God, Find Freedom, Discover their Purpose and Make a difference.
One more scripture…
James 4:7 NLT
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Prayer and Response -
Pray for the people who try - tried to come to God… to clean up… to get past an addiction… a sorrow.
Maybe you are hear and you haven’t tried spiritual things in your life…
Leave the trying behind and Trust God today.
Salvation Prayer -
Spirtual Warfare
God we thank you that we can walk in your victory.
Helmet of Salvation -
Breastplate of Righteousness
Belt of Truth -
Shield of Faith
Word of God
Shoes of Peace -
Pray in the Spirit -
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