Faithlife Sermons

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*/Ephesians 6:12-13/*
* *
*            *Let’s review our introduction to the Reality of Spiritual Warfare from last week.
Two Realms of Battle.
Israel’s primary battlefield is the earth and she has earthly enemies that are fighting for a specific Real Estate known as the Promised Land.
Her enemies are depraved Gentile nations and the Fallen Angels.
However, in Ephesians the story is a bit different.
The Church’s battlefield is in the heavenlies and our enemies are fighting for the souls of men.
Our enemies are therefore not of flesh and blood but are Fallen Angels.
Reality of Spiritual Warfare.
There are two lines of thought about the spirit world.
1) Those who reject its existence and 2) those who accept its existence.
Those who reject the existence of the spirit world are naturalists.
They believe that everything that exists is composed of material and is empirically observable or quantifiable.
For the most part, any naturalist thinks all phenomena can be explained by natural law (physical, chemical or biological processes).
There is no need for a god or gods behind the universe.
The universe is an impersonal mechanical system governed.
I showed you last week that the actual source of this lie was a spirit being originally named Lucifer, now fallen known as Satan or the Devil (/diabolos/).
One of the greatest deceptions Satan ever pulled on mankind was the foolish idea that the spirit world doesn’t exist.
The second view is composed of people who accept the existence of the spirit world.
These people normally think there are gods or goddesses behind what the evolutionists consider natural processes (e.g.
rain god, harvest god, love god, et al.)
It is significant that in this respect, these tribal people are more advanced than their modern western counterpart.
Yet, they too believe in an evolutionary system of thought.
Really, these two viewpoints dovetail into worldviews that are both polytheistic and evolutionary.
They may have different gods but no one is free from any gods whatsoever.
The question is not whether people believe in a god or gods, but who or what are their gods?
To ascertain just who their god or gods are we simply listen carefully to our friends to uncover their ultimate commitments.
To who or what idea are they most committed?
This is a person’s god.
What Christianity is saying is that both of these ideas are wrong concerning the spirit world.
Our evolutionary friends are ignorant of their existence.
Our tribal friends are ignorant of their destructive power.
Only the word of God gives us the true perspective.
That there are good and evil spirit beings behind the natural forces.
These all sit under God’s ultimate authority.
They are not gods but created beings and they function in many capacities in the universe.
There is a real battle going on beyond mankind’s perceptive abilities.
These spirit beings are more powerful than humans and are created immortals.
The Bible tells Christians that Jesus Christ defeated the fallen angels on the cross and how we are to stand against such creatures who are our vile enemies.
Verse 10 reads, *Finally, be strengthened in the Lord, that is, in the might of His strength.
Finally *signals that these are Paul’s closing words in the letter.
*Finally, be strengthened in the Lord*.
Our strength comes from the Lord.
He is the source of the strength necessary to hold Christ’s ground and stand against the strategies of the devil.
*be strengthened in the Lord, that is, in the might of His strength*.
Two words used here to explain the Lord’s strength, /kratos /and /ischus/.
/ischus/ refers to Christ’s inherent strength and /kratos /refers to the demonstration of His strength.
As Christian soldiers we are to continually be being strengthened by the inherent strength of Christ working through us to to stand against the strategies of the devil, the topic of verse 11.
            *Put on all the armor of God, in order that you might have the ability to stand against the strategies of the devil:* *Put on* is a command from your Military General, Jesus Christ.
What are we to put on?
*All the armor of God*.
We normally say, *the full armor of God*.
This is not your own armor but the *armor of God*.
We need His armor to protect against the wicked powers of darkness.
What this pictures is that the Christian soldier takes each piece of armor up, mounts it on his person and prepares for conflict.
Why? *in order that you might have the ability to stand against the strategies of the devil*.
To guard Christ’s territory we need to *stand against the */methodology, the *strategies* /*of the devil.
*The devil is an advanced military tactician and you must have put on the *full armor of God in order to stand against these strategies*.
The *devil *is a /diabolic /creature.
Internally he is filled with violence and destruction.
Your mother in law is not your number one enemy, Satan is.
He is a very powerful creature but a creature nonetheless.
This means he can be defeated but He can only be defeated by wearing the armor of the Creator.
Importantly, last week we looked at one of three basic strategies.
Let’s finish reporting on these basic strategies.
If the devil can deceive you by His strategies then you will give the Devil a place or position of attack against the body of Christ.
His strategies are not easy to detect, they require advanced knowledge of Bible doctrine so you will not be swept away by what is falsely called knowledge.
3 Basic Strategies of the Devil.
The first basic strategy of the devil is “false doctrine” or the spreading of “lies”.
He is the father of lies so we should not be surprised that he uses this strategy.
The example we used was that of the Danish existential philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard.
Kierkegaard is known as “the father of all modern thought” both secular and religious.
He made a total separation between faith and knowledge so that meaning and significance can only be reached by a leap of faith and you yourself determine your own meaning and significance.
These things cannot be known or even expressed verbally.
Abraham made a “leap of faith” when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice.
This separation of faith from rationality or knowledge was applied to theology by Karl Barth who is the “father of neo-orthodox theology.”
For Barth, and many Christians today, God is wholly beyond us.
He cannot be known through a mere human book such as the Bible.
Conservative Christians are chided for worshipping the Bible rather than the God of the Bible but insomuch they separate God from His word and ultimately say God can only be known by a mystical personal encounter.
This is heresy of the vilest sort.
Sounds good to many Christians who seek a personal verification of their faith but deeply antithetical to Christianity.
So, the first strategy of Satan is to spreading of “false doctrine” or “lies”.
The second strategy of Satan is “confusion”.
The father of lies loves to cause confusion among believers.
There are two basic tactics involved in the strategy of confusion.
First keep Christians ignorant of Bible doctrine.
He may keep you too busy to study Bible doctrine.
Or a more deceptive technique involves the previous “leap of faith” which we discussed.
If you buy into the “leap of faith” mentality then you will not think that Bible study is the essential component to coming to know God since the Bible can’t communicate who God really is anyway.
Therefore you will not study the Bible but seek mystical encounters which will cause you to become more and more confused, tossed about by every wind of doctrine.
Biblically, and in my experience, it is impossible to stay afloat and stable as a Christian when you take an anti-intellectual approach to God? How can you discern truth from error when you don’t know anything?
If you’ve been taught that Christianity is just a subjective religious experience then you’re not going to take the time to intellectually engage the word of God and this is exactly what Satan wants.
He doesn’t want you to think through the word of God because he knows that when you do the word of God will give you the ability to escape and avoid confusion.
God is the author of clarity but Satan is the author of confusion.
If you are one of those Christians who thinks there are a lot of gray areas then you have been deceived.
Satan has you confused.
It’s a black and white issue…there are /ultimately/ no gray areas.
A second and similar tactic under this strategy is to give you the idea that we can’t understand the word of God, that there are many interpretations to that and we just can’t know.
For example, inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, what the end-times will look like, creation vs. evolution, etc…How often have you heard believers say that we really can’t know about these issues, the Bible isn’t clear.
Really?
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