TEXT: II Cor. 10:4; Eph. 6:10-18
By Bro. Charles ItseghosimheDownload Lesson
In Matthew 26:47‐54, Jesus was about to be arrested by a great multitude with swords and clubs. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. This act was to protect Jesus. But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Jesus commented that if He needed protection from the threats of men, He could overwhelm His adversaries with more than twelve legions of angels.
Considering John 18:36 (NKJV) 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Protecting Jesus from the threats of men was not called for, especially as His death was necessary (Matthew 26:54; Luke 22:51; John 18:11).
Jesus was pointing out that a spiritual kingdom cannot be advanced through physical warfare. Jesus stopped the progress of arms. He did want His disciples to propagate his religion by force of arms. He knew the drawing of the sword would be dangerous to the one who drew the sword and to his fellow‐disciples; they that use violence fall by violence; and men hasten and increase their own troubles by violence. Our warfare is not carnal. It is spiritual.
There is a war between light and darkness, good and evil, sin and righteousness… everyone on earth is part of this war, either as a soldier of light or as a soldier of darkness. Becoming a Christian is an enrolment in the Lord’s army. In leaving the darkness for the light, Christians enter into a conflict. We have a service to perform in the Lord’s army. Because we are Christians, we are involved in a war between light and darkness ‐
John 3:19‐20 (NKJV) 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. All Christians are in the Lord’s army.
Who is our enemy and what tactics or weapons does he use? We need to learn about our enemy, how he fights and what defense and offense we have available. It is imperative that we know who the enemy is.
The enemy is not other people. We will not receive medals from God for fighting one another. Too many see an enemy in everyone who does not see eye to eye with them on every point. In so doing we become consumers of our own selves. Someone is hurt, troubled, or facing problems and we shoot them. The enemy is Satan. He uses demons, spiritual powers and rulers of the darkness of this age. He uses men too. Satan never fights fair; he uses tricks— “wiles.”
2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV) 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
2 Corinthians 10:3‐6 (NKJV) 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
We are not carrying on a physical war, but the battle for us is no less real. We need to understand that we are not fighting for material success, earthly power, or social prestige. We are not even trying to make our enemies look bad.
The real issue is the victory or defeat of God’s purpose for our lives. We must realize that we have merciless, implacable, and powerful spiritual enemies, so that such things as human cleverness, ingenuity, organizing ability, eloquent arguments, charm, or forcefulness of personality are simply not the answer. Those things may impress men, but they in no way impress demons. Those things are the weapons of carnality, of flesh.
Paul indicates that the enemy invades our minds, our imaginations. He does this through opinions, convictions, feelings, lifestyles and actions that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. These satanic thoughts or attitudes are designed to affect or alter first our minds and then our behaviours.
Satan did this to Eve in the Garden of Eden. These wrong reasonings are the key to understanding what Satan is trying to accomplish. What Satan desires is for us to exalt our ideas over godly and true knowledge and understanding.
The means by which we hope to achieve our victory are not carnal. They are not those of the flesh. We do not depend on eloquence, or talent, or learning, or wealth, or beauty, or any of the external aids on which the people of this world rely. Conquerors and earthly warriors go into battle depending on the might of their own arm, and on the wisdom and skill which plans the battle.
Our strength is derived from God alone. God is a Spirit. Our weapons are spiritual. They are rendered mighty or powerful by the agency of God. They depend on Him for their efficacy. The weapons were such as were furnished by truth and righteousness. It is important for all Christians to believe that their weapons are mighty only through God.
The Christian goes on his warfare, feeling that however well adapted the truths which he holds are to accomplish great purposes, and however wisely his plans are formed, yet that the efficacy of all depends on the agency of God. He has no hope of victory but in God. And if God does not attend him, he is sure of inevitable defeat. Remember David ‐
1 Samuel 17:45 (NKJV) 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
Our weapons are powerful enough to break down any stronghold, any obstacle which are designed and adapted to oppose God’s truth, the Christian’s growth and victory. It is true that certain obstacles are strongly fortified.
Do you know that our sins can become the strongholds ‐ so fortified by long indulgence and by the hold which they have on our souls? The idolatry of the world is strongly fortified by prejudice, false philosophy, error, sin and satanic attacks emanate from all of them.
MORE EMPHASIS ON THE WARFARE
In Ephesians 6:10‐18, we see the whole of armour God gives to us as Christians in the warfare. 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
The Christian is fighting against the spiritual forces of wickedness. We are in constant struggles and difficult fights. We are in harsh combat. This emphasizes that we must be prepared to face spiritual conflict. As the Lord’s soldier, our lives will be difficult and demanding. The Christian must be disciplined.
2 Timothy 2:3‐4 (NKJV) 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
To be a strong Christian, we must be prepared to face the challenges brought against us by Satan. An unprepared soldier never finds victory ‐ only defeat.
MEANS OF PREPARATION FOR THE WARFARE
The Lord offers His soldiers the means of being prepared for spiritual combat. First, we must prepare ourselves to fight sin (wrong attitudes, lifestyles, actions). When we give over to sin, we have given over to the power of Satan and allowed him to rule our lives for the period we are in the sin. Satan with cunning and trickery lays down the plan to convince Christians to sin. Many of Satan’s tricks to get Christians into sin are carried out in the home, schools, work places and into the life of the church. We must face sin. Let’s consider the following ways of preparation:
Determine to Follow God’s Orders (Eph. 6:10,11a).
James 4:7a says submit to God. Orders must be followed exactly during a battle. Soldiers who fail to follow orders in combat are often killed, and their disobedience endangers others in their group. This same truth is urged for the Christian soldier. You are under God’s command, and you must obey Him. The strength to obey is found in the Lord and is obtained only by living in a close relationship with Him. It is important for you to be strong within before you put on the armor of God without.
If you lack the inner strength of devoted commitment, the outer armor will be useless. Unless you are strong in the strength of His might you will become a casualty in the spiritual war.
How strong are you? How strong is your commitment to God? How strong are your convictions regarding God’s truth? You must direct your energy toward God so that your devotion to Him will grow stronger.
James 4:7b says resist the devil and he will flee from you. The devil will use schemes to tempt you to return to sin. His methods and strategies will be aimed at your weakest areas. As a Christian, you are engaged in battle against Satan and will face dangers that have the potential to destroy your faith. Questions may arise concerning morality, modesty, doctrine, salvation, God’s love, and a host of other issues. Such questions can attack your thoughts; and if they penetrate your shield, they will flame into doubt that could ruin your faith. In your battle against Satan, you must carry this shield of faith so that doubt will not lead you to despair.
With your shield of faith, you will possess a perfect trust in God. This trust, in turn, will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. You must conform your thinking to His, directing your thoughts to what is right and good. You will find peace when your thoughts are centered on God. The mind is a dangerous thing to leave unguarded!
Use the word and prayer. Renew and build the mind and heart with the word of God. Understand, practice the word and practice using it properly. Your communication link is prayer to the heavenly Father. After the Christian has been dressed, the praying is to continue. This emphasizes how critical prayer is in spiritual warfare.
The soldier may wear all the necessary armor and may have the heart of committed loyalty; but if he lacks communication with the Commander, only defeat will result. Prayer offers assurance and confidence. One of the most important things you must do as a Christian is to have a consistency in prayer that will help you in your spiritual battles. Christians need a prayer life that involves talking to God about everything (at all times).
Is your prayer life constant? Are you winning the war against Satan by staying in close communication with your heavenly Father? We sleep or lose our sense of urgency at the times when we should be praying. We are to pray for all Christians. God wants us to see that we need to work together in our fight against the devil. A united family of God that prays for one another can stand strong against Satan’s attacks.
Unfortunately, some Christians don’t plan to pray. Don’t be tyrannized by the press of busy days. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Pray hard. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
See Satan as he is. Don’t undervalue him. Don’t overvalue him. Satan is deceitful and vicious, aggressive and dangerous. Paul used some words that draw attention to the tremendous power and authority possessed by the enemy.
The Bible gives some insights into this diabolical power. Jesus also referred to the devil as the ruler of this world‐
John 12:31 (NKJV)…now the ruler of this world will be cast out. Paul called the devil the god of this world ‐
2 Corinthians 4:4 (NKJV) 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. Peter compared the enemy to “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
John added that “the whole world whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).
Paul also refers to him as the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience Ephesians 2:2.
No middle ground exists. Either you live under the control of the Lord Jesus or you live under the control of Satan. Someone might say, “I thought Jesus defeated the devil and won the victory.”
He did. However, the devil and his demons have not conceded defeat. They have not yet been finally and completely destroyed, so they remain devoted to their “seek and destroy” mission against mankind. They still have considerable power to destroy individuals’ lives. Our enemy and his allies use their power to destroy.
They turn it in the direction of evil. They represent the powers of this dark world. Darkness is their domain. Ferocious and utterly wicked, they wreak as much havoc as possible. In truth Satan uses all kinds of counterfeits to fool us into thinking bad is really good.
Satan can also convince us to fail to do right things. To get us to sin, the master of deception — convinces us that “it isn’t so bad. It won’t hurt,” — convinces us that no one will find out, and that God will forgive us anyway, — convinces us that what he is tempting us to do will actually satisfy us, — saps our spiritual convictions so that we don’t care, — gets us overtired and frazzled so that we just want immediate relief and are willing to do whatever will give us that relief, — twists our thinking so that we don’t know what is right anymore. Satan labors to cause us to doubt our relationship with God. When we allow Satan to reign in our lives, we are vulnerable to his attack.
SOME MANIFESTATION OF SATAN’S ATTACK
Do you ever find yourself under spiritual attack? You may be discouraged or depressed, or a strong temptation may persist. Does the word of God irritate you? Do you see yourself deliberately abandoning the services of God?
Do you see yourself losing the zeal to participate in godly programs? Do you see prayer communication to God as disturbance to God? Do you find yourself drifting away in the course of a prayer session? Do you engage in pornography, gambling, drinking, smoking, gay life, e.t.c? Do you see yourself acting unseemly in the church service? Do you constantly have dreams that trouble or terrify you or that are satanic or occultic in their appearance?
What about the local congregation? Do disagreements occur because we have hidden resentments and not merely because human beings have differences of opinion? Is the fellowship among us already fractured? Are you facing challenges that seem mysterious?
Are you feeling powerless and hopeless in your circumstances? You may be under spiritual attack. Spiritual attack has to do with another realm, outside this physical, visible world of ours. You may be held in satanic strongholds. You may be struggling against spiritual forces that are wicked in nature.
Our warfare is spiritual. Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weapons. Yes, Satan does attack us but we can fight back. We can do something about it. We can win! Christians overcome the attacks of the devil as they rely on God and the weapons of His word, obedience, faith, love, righteousness and prayers. We have powers from God beyond our imagination. Let’s tap those powers. We have a God bigger than us, than Satan, than every stronghold. Let’s surrender to Him completely.
Ephesians 3:20‐21 (NKJV) 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Download Lesson
End Notes O u t o f D a r k n e s s I n t o L i g h t ‐ You’re in the Lord’s Army!” (Ephesians 6:10–20) (Jay Lockhart. 2005, 2006 by Truth for Today)
Ephesians ‐ The Church Is a Strong Army for God (Ephesians 6:10‐18), 1984, 2001 by Truth for Today
Ephesians ‐ The Ability to Stand, 1 (Ephesians 6:10‐18) 1984, 2001 by Truth for Today
Ephesians ‐ The Ability to Stand, 2 (Ephesians 6:10‐18) 1984, 2001 by Truth for Today
Ephesians – The Wiles of the Devil (Ephesians 6:11) 1984, 2001 by Truth for Today
Ephesians – Take the Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16) 1984, 2001 by Truth for Today
Ephesians – Prayer for the Preacher (Ephesians 6:18‐20) 1984, 2001 by Truth for Today
Ephesians – It’s a War! (6:10–12) 1995, 1998 by Truth for Today Ephesians The Armor of God (6:13–18) 1995, 1998 by Truth for Today