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Fleshly Carnal Warfare Verses Spiritual Warfare

Anyone in Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:42
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Fleshly Carnal Warfare Verses Spiritual Warfare 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ-who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Satan is very active in the church, why is that? The church represents the body of Christ and Satan hates anything that is of God and he seeks to destroy or disrupt all that God claims is His. Paul's apostolic authority was being challenged by a number of Corinthian Christians and so beginning in this chapter and carrying on through chapter 13; he takes the bull by the horns and addresses that issue. He answers a number of the criticisms made against him and rebukes the impure motives of those who seek to undermine his ministry in order to win personal followings. As we look back at in this letter to chapter 7:6-16 we can see that Paul truly felt joy and encouragement over the majority of the Corinthian Church. However, there was a minority of these folks that he had stern words for who most likely were still in rebellion and under the sway of the intruding "false apostles" that he will mention in chapter 11:13. In his defense, Paul will list the credentials of his apostleship: sufferings, special revelations, and signs and wonders that the Lord had gifted him with. Verse 1: Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ---who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. There were some Corinthian Christians who criticized Paul for being too lowly to actually qualify to be an apostle, but on the other hand they said he was too bold in the letters he wrote. Paul in essence was saying that these critics really didn't know the life of Christ because He displayed boldness and lowliness many times while here on earth. Paul was following the example of our Lord. When fellow Christians want to spend time picking apart other Christians especially those who are in authority over them, they have a problem with their own personal walk with the Lord. Instead of addressing their own personal walk they want to spend time pointing out the deficiencies of those whose walk makes theirs looks bad; this is a ploy of the Lie Whisperer. We need to recognize that and when it crops up nip it in the bud. Verse 2: But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. Paul states that he intended to bold against some, this conveys that not all the Corinthian Christians were complaining about Paul's actions. However, the fact of the matter is that even that small minority that was, created a rift in the body of believers in Corinth and it needed to be dealt with before the church was totally overcome by it. Apparently this group was under the belief that Paul was a man who walked according to the flesh; when in truth it was most likely those who voiced that accusation the ones walking according to the flesh. Had they been walking according to the Spirit this issue would have never arisen? This accusation was leveled upon him because of the perceived contradiction between his gentleness and severity. When one can take a step back they can see the hand of the slithering Lie Whisperer deceptively at work trying to destroy the body of Christ with lies and jealousy. This is something that was happening then, still going on in the present day, and will continue on until Jesus returns and puts Satan in his place. In the verses to follow Paul will take some time to defend his apostolic authority: his apostolic authority was vital to him and his calling. Today, the idea of apostolic authority is cheapened by many of those who claim to be "apostles", which is dangerous ground to tread upon. For those who don't know what apostolic authority is: It's to be recognized through divine connections. God joins His Church together as it pleases Him. Organizational or denominational government may be easier to recognize because the authority structure is positional. This authority did not originate with the church but was dependent upon Christ and His Word. So, the other Apostles did not make Paul an Apostle. Their formal recognition of his ministry merely affirmed that authority which he had already possessed. If Paul had deviated at any time from the message that Christ had given him, he would have forfeited his authority and come under the condemnation of Christ as stated in Galatians 1:8. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. This is the key to understanding the nature of authority in the church. We need to understand that this was what Paul was addressing towards that minority group in the Corinthian Church who was questioning Paul. Today the church continues to devote itself to Apostles' doctrine. Although pastors and teachers are not apostles in the New Testament sense, they do speak with apostolic authority whenever they proclaim the truth of Scripture without deviating from it one bit. Because they represent Christ, those who hear their message must answer to Christ for their response: "Whoever listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent Me" (Luke 10:16). Paul was in the process of ferreting out those who were trying to claim apostolic authority while at the same time trying to discredit his. This is still a practice that the Lie Whisperer uses to this very day. This is why it's so very important that we as individual believers must draw near to God regularly (daily) with prayer and the study of His Word so that we will be able to discern the difference between right and wrong teaching, and those who may be falsely claiming to have apostolic authority. Verse 3: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. Paul is admitting right from the start in this verse that he does walk in the flesh in the sense that we all do, even just as Jesus did. He is a flesh and blood human being, and he struggles with the same things that the Corinthian Christians struggled with. However, he wanted to make it very clear that he did not war as one in the flesh, he realized that he was in a spiritual battle and had to use the weapons of the Spirit; not warring according to the flesh. It's our human nature to want to immediately fight back using the weapons of the flesh because that is what comes naturally, even though it's not the right way. It takes immense self-control to not lash out to defend oneself when under attack by the world. Jesus gave us so many examples of that self-control and told us that we are to be just like Him. When we act on our own we steal the glory that is supposed to go to the Father and we send Him the message that we don't need Him to fight our battles. Verses 4-6: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Because our warfare is not against flesh and blood, worldly weapons will not be effective, we must use spiritual weapons and those can only be provided by the Father through His Holy Spirit Ephesians 6:10-18. Worldly weapons are carnal and weak against the weapons that Satan wars with that are spiritual. The key to using the weapons that God provides us with is faith, without faith the weapons He provides are useless, however, with faith those weapons listed in Ephesians are mighty in "God for pulling down strongholds". The Lie Whisper uses people to do his bidding here on earth. Sadly, even Christians can be used, especially those who are choosing to still live according to the flesh because they are weak in the faith. This is why we must die to self and be constantly on the alert, so that we won't become a tool of his and so that we can recognize the traps he sets. The Corinthian Christians that Paul was addressing tended to rely on and admire carnal weapons for the Christian battle: Instead of the belt of truth, they fought with manipulation. Instead of the breastplate of righteousness, they fought with the image of success. Instead of the shoes of the gospel, they fought with smooth words. Instead of the shield of faith, they fought with the perception of power. Instead of the helmet of salvation, they fought with lording over authority. Instead of the sword of the Spirit, they fought with human schemes and programs. Consider how Jesus fought for our salvation. Philippians 2:5-8 describes this: Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. The Corinthian Christians were offended by this kind of humble victory because they considered it so "weak". You see, the carnal, human way is to overpower, dominate, manipulate, and out-maneuver. The spiritual, Jesus way, is to humble yourself, die to yourself, and let God show His resurrection power through you. We need to walk in faith and trust our Lord and remember that He has not only promised to be always with us but that He has won the victory! (John 16:33 and 1 Corinthians 20:17) Our spiritual weapons are scorned by the world but feared by demonic powers. When we fight with true spiritual weapons, then no principality or power can stand against us So, what does Paul mean by pulling down strongholds? In this context he is speaking in regards to wrong thoughts, ideas, and perceptions that contradict the true knowledge of God and the nature of God. To use a very current example we can look to what the current Pope, Pope Francis has declared about same sex civil unions, he says that they are okay now! This goes against God's word and is a well-used tactic of the Lie Whisperer. These strongholds are expressed in arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. When one tends to rely on this carnal method it is a true stronghold. This stronghold will stubbornly set down deep roots in the heart and mind, and it will color one's actions and way of thinking. Human nature makes it hard to let go of the thinking that the values of this world is the right way and only God's power can really break down these strongholds. A great example of a strong hold that was pulled down in history, (interestingly it happened October 31, 1517,) was when Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the doors of Wittenberg Hall. His thesis exposed the corruption and condemned the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church. Along with strongholds come arguments and every thigh thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God: Carnal and worldly ways of thinking and doing are arguments against the mind and methods of God. Those that practice that want to debate God, declaring they have a better way than He does. They exalt themselves against the knowledge of God: Believing themselves to be smarter, more sophisticated, more effective, and more powerful than God's ways. Carnal, worldly minds think they know more than God does! This is a lie of Satan! Paul is addressing Christians here in his letter because it is something that had pervaded the church and was destructive. The Corinthian Church had the strongholds in their minds and hearts, we cannot be blind to the fact that this is not just a worldly problem that doesn't affect the church, because it had and still does if allowed. "For nothing is more opposed to the spiritual wisdom of God than the wisdom of the flesh, and nothing more opposed to His grace than man's natural ability." (John Calvin) As believers in order for us to combat the strongholds that want to take over; we must bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Romans 12:2 directs us "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." We will always serve someone, it will either be Jesus or Satan, and whomever we serve that is who will captivate our minds. As a Christian we belong to Jesus because He purchased us with His blood on the cross. 1Corinthians 6:19-20: Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in you spirit, which are God's. Therefore we are commanded to bring our minds, heart, body and soul unto His subjection at all times. As we do this the Father can and will be glorified through us at all times. Bottom of Form Top of Form
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