VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 4 POSTED ON: 12/11/2011
Spiritual warfare is a reality Ephesians 6:10-12 Two Sundays ago I challenged you to take your spiritual life to a whole new level in 2010. And I trust that each one of us desires that in our lives or why else would we be here. Last week we discussed some things that can keep us from taking our spiritual lives to the next level or things that can keep us from experiencing the awesomeness of God in 2010. This morning I want to continue along that same theme. Do you realize that war is a fact of life? The Bible is full of stories of war. The U.S. has been involved in many different conflicts including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and now the Iraq and Afghan wars. Some of you have fought for your country in this way and know war firsthand. And when we fight in wars like these, there is no doubt who the enemy is and there is a plan to defeat them. But there is another war going on around us that I think sometimes we don’t realize is going on. There is a spiritual war going on and sometimes we don’t know who the enemy is and we have no plan for victory. The war I am talking about is a spiritual war that has been going on since before the fall of Satan. Many people are not aware of this war, and I want to change that today. Paul gives us this instruction about spiritual warfare that we need to take to heart. READ Ephesians 6:10-12 This morning I want to share with you 5 basic truths about the reality of this spiritual war going on around us: I. There is an invisible world that is just as real as the visible world! (Ephesians 6:12; Ephesians 2:6) There are a lot of people in our world today, and even in our church, who tend to accept as reality only those things that we can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. The Bible in my hand right now is real! The clothes that I am wearing right now are real! The oven in the roast is real! I know that they are real, because I can experience them with the senses God has given me. But when we start talking about spiritual things, things that are invisible, things that can’t be seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted, we tend to think, “Aye, that’s not real,” or, “Aye, that is not a big deal.” Well nothing could be further from the truth. READ Ephesians 6:12 Basically what Paul is saying is that we exist in this present visible world, but we also simultaneously exist in this unseen world that he describes as a place where evil beings exist. That is what he says in v. 12. But this unseen world is also where God exists. READ Ephesians 2:6. The point is this. We live in a world that we can see. But beyond that is an invisible world we can’t see. And both good and evil exist in that spiritual world and there are unbelievable spiritual battles constantly going on. And the evil one is trying to take us down as God’s people. II. We are involved in an invisible war that has eternal implications! (Daniel 10:12-13; 2 Kings 6:15-17; 2 Corinthians 4:4) Turn to Daniel 10. Daniel had been praying to God and not receiving an answer to his prayer and an angel came to him and explained the delay in terms of spiritual warfare: READ Daniel 10:12-13. There is a lot we don’t understand about the spiritual world, but this passage does reveal something to us for sure. There is a spiritual war going on between spirits and angels. There is a constant battle between good and evil, light and darkness, heavenly forces and satanic forces. And this spiritual war has eternal implications for us because we are smack dab in the middle of the whole thing! Turn to 2 Kings. Once Elisha and his servant were confronted with the army of King Aram which had surrounded the city. The servant saw all the enemy chariots and was scared. READ 2 Kings 6:15-17. God revealed to Elisha’s servant that He was ready to do battle on their behalf in the invisible spiritual world. The spiritual battle that we are in is no less real than it was for Daniel, or Elisha, or any of God’s people down through the ages. READ 2 Corinthians 4:4. We are involved in an invisible war that has eternal implications. Maybe you are here today and you are not in a relationship with Christ. Maybe you once felt close to God and have drifted away. Maybe you are going through some struggle or relational conflict. Maybe you are even having trouble understanding what I am talking about. It just might be that you are engaged in a spiritual war that you are not even aware of and Satan is blinding you and distract you from the truth or living the truth. We must be ready and willing each and everyday to do battle with the satanic forces, because whether we want to believe it or not spiritual warfare has eternal implications. III. Our enemy is tough and his goal is to destroy us and discredit the cause of Christ! (1 Peter 5:8) Illustration: A few weeks ago one of my favorite NFL teams, the Indianapolis Colts were playing the New York Jets. The Colts went into the game with a record of 14-0. They did not take the game or the opponent seriously and guess what happened. The Jets spanked the Colts. We face a similar problem when we, as followers, underestimate the power of our enemy. Now, we don’t want to give Satan more power than he really has, but we are making a huge mistake if we think he and his demonic army have no power at all. READ 1 Peter 5:8. Satan is a present reality in our lives whether we like it or not. He wants nothing more than to destroy our faith, take away our credibility, and lead us to stumble into sin. We must be prepared for his attacks. He will attack us and it will be with great force. IV. We must be aware of Satan’s methods and tactics! (Ephesians 6:11) Illustration: When I was in high school I played basketball. Our coach would scout the other teams that we played to find their tendencies and plays they like to run. He did this so our team wouldn’t be surprised but rather we would be prepared when we played. We need to do something very similar as we engage in spiritual warfare. READ Ephesians 6:11. We must be aware of Satan’s methods and tactics. Let me share 4 thoughts about Satan’s methods and tactics: 1. Satan’s names reveal his tactics! The name Satan means adversary! The name Devil means slanderer! The name Beelzebub means prince of demons! He is also called the evil one, the temper, and the prince of this world! 2. Satan attacks the church in various ways! Through false philosophies (Colossians 2:8) Through false religions (1 Corinthians 10:19) Through false ministers (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) Through false doctrine (1 John 2:18) Through false disciples (Matthew 13) Through false morals (2 Thessalonians 2:7) 3. Satan attacks God’s people in various ways! By directing governments (Daniel 10:13) By deceiving men (2 Corinthians 4:4) By destroying life (Hebrews 2:14) By persecuting the saints (Revelation 2:10) By preventing service (1 Thessalonians 2:18) By creating division (2 Corinthians 2:10-11) By planting doubt (Genesis 3:1-2) By provoking sin and anger (Ephesians 4:26-27) By promoting pride (1 Timothy 3:6) 4. Satan’s power is limited! Satan is created, therefore not omniscient or infinite like God! Satan can be resisted by the Christian (James 4:7) Satan’s power is limited by God (Job 1:12) Our spiritual opposition is tough, we need to understand his methods and tactics when we do battle. V. As followers of Christ, we do not fight for victory, we fight because of victory! We fight a very real battle with a very real enemy every day and the thing that we must cling to is that without a doubt, our victory over Satan is assured. Satan was defeated when Jesus Christ died on the cross and was resurrected 3 days later. We don’t fight for victory, we fight because of the victory of Jesus Christ. Let me share some Scripture that shows that although we are in a spiritual battle, the victory has already been won. READ John 12:31; Colossians 2:14-15; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4-5. Illustration: In a classic "Twilight Zone" episode from 1960, an American on a walking trip through central Europe gets caught in a raging storm. Staggering through the blinding rain, he chances upon an imposing medieval castle. It’s a hermitage for a brotherhood of monks. The reclusive monks reluctantly take him in. Later that night, the American discovers a cell with a man locked inside. An ancient wooden staff bolts the door. The prisoner claims he’s being held captive by the "insane" head monk, Brother Jerome and he pleads for the American to release him. The prisoner’s kindly face and gentle voice win him over. The American confronts Brother Jerome, who declares that the prisoner is actually none other than Satan, "the father of lies," held captive by the Staff of Truth, the one barrier he cannot pass. This incredible claim convinces the American that Jerome is indeed mad. As soon as he gets the chance, he releases the prisoner who immediately transforms into a hideous, horned demon and vanishes in a puff of smoke! The stunned American is horrified at the realization of what he has done. Jerome responds sympathetically. "I’m sorry for you, my son. All your life you will remember this night and whom you have turned loose upon the world." "I didn’t believe you," the American replies. "I saw him and didn’t recognize him," to which Jerome solemnly observes, "That is man’s weakness and Satan’s strength." What a true statement that is. Whether you believe it or not, we are in a spiritual war! Are you prepared?
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