Faithlife Sermons

The Challenges of an Invisible War

Spiritual Warfare  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:10
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Introduction: Civil War in Liberia

Liberia had a civil war from 1989-1996. The Liberian Civil War, which was one of Africa's bloodiest, claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Liberians and further displaced a million others into refugee camps in neighboring countries. Liberia had a second civil war from 1999 to 2003.
War conjures up images we don’t like. War implies things we don’t seem to experience. Can you be in a war and not know it?
The problem of the definition of spiritual warfare. Many people describe spiritual warfare like this:
All day, every day, an invisible war rages around you—unseen, unheard, yet felt throughout every aspect of your life. A devoted, devilish enemy seeks to wreak havoc on everything that matters to you: your heart, your mind, your marriage, your children, your relationships, your resilience, your dreams, your destiny. But his battle plan depends on catching you unaware and unarmed. If you're tired of being pushed around, this study is for you.
Is this your experience? Frankly, it isn’t mine. Many hear this and think, if that’s what spiritual warfare is, then it isn’t touching me.
No, that isn’t what spiritual warfare is. It may be like that a day or few days at a time, but not all day, every day.
The Bible declares we are in a spiritual war, yet many Christians don’t know it that to be the case, don’t believe it or don’t have experiences consistent with what we expect if we’re in a war. The problem for many of us is that it doesn’t seem like we’re in a war!
What is our intent? My intent is to get people to accept we are in a spiritual war. I need to overcome the objections people have to thinking they are part of spiritual warfare. Overcome the objections to accepting the reality of spiritual warfare.
We know we are involved in spiritual warfare because the Bible says we are.

1. We are in a spiritual war.

God declared war on Satan in Genesis 3:14-15

Paul says we are engaged in a war. 2 Corinthians 10:1-5

The Bible describes the Christian life with warfare terms.
We are in a battle. 2 Cor. 10:3, 1 Peter 2:11, Ephesians 6:12
We are soldiers. 1 Cor 9:7; 2 Tim 2:3-4
We have enemies. 1 Tim 5:14, James 4:4, Romans 8:7
We have weapons. 2 Cor. 10:4, Romans 6:13, 13:12
We have armor. Ephesians 6:11, 13
One kingdom is opposed to another. Col. 1:13, Luke 11:14-26
The Bible repeatedly emphasizes we are in a spiritual war, yet, many who know these verses have trouble accepting this as true or as true for themselves because they don’t see it. We see war in the news but we aren’t experiencing anything like that. The reason is

2. It is an invisible war. 2 Cor 10:3-4

We have trouble recognizing the spiritual war is because it is being fought according to spiritual principles.
2 Corinthians 10:3–4 NIV
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
We only know about the spirit realm and spiritual warfare by the eyes faith. 2 Kings 6:8-17
2 Kings 6:15–17 NIV
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Even the way the Bible describes our enemies emphasizes the spiritual nature of the war.

3. Our enemies are invisible. Ephesians 6:12

Ephesians 6:12 NIV
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
When we take a closer look we see that our enemies use stealth and deceit to their advantage.

4. The attacks are invisible. 2 Corinthians 11:14

2 Corinthians 11:14 NIV
14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
Satan hides what he looks like. What would Satan look like if he walked in the door right now? An ugly demon? No a beautiful angel of light!
2 Corinthians 11:3 NIV
3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Satan uses deceit to hide his attacks. He attacks people and many don’t know it’s him.
This may seem like a deal breaker for some. Perhaps you’re wondering, “How could he expect me to believe in a spiritual battle that I can’t see?”
The answer to that question is germs. Everyone believes in germs, in particular the germs causing the coronavirus, even though we can’t see it. We believe germs exist because we see the evidence of it. None of us have seen the coronavirus, but people today are wearing masks. Why? They believe the evidence.
What hope to do we have then in fighting this spiritual war? There is good news.

5. Spiritual warfare is recognizable. Acts 5:3, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8-9

The Bible tells us enough we have enough evidence about how our enemy attacks to be able to recognize when it happens. It’s hard. It takes learning and practice but we can do it.
God has told us enough to hold us responsible for fighting and winning our individual spiritual warfare battles. We see an example of this in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira.
Acts 5:3 NIV
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
Peter said they knew enough to not allow Satan to fill their heart to lie.
James 4:7 NIV
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
1 Peter 5:8–9 NIV
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
God commands us in James and 1 Peter to resist the devil. He wouldn’t do that if we couldn’t recognize him.
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