Faithlife Sermons

Spiritual Warfare

Apostolic Defense - Book of 2nd Corinthians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  41:22
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Apostolic defense

In our passage before us this morning, Paul uses some harsh tones and one has to wonder is he angry, concerned or what is going on?
Remember that the book has a primary focus of defending the apostleship of Paul and the other apostles. Paul had already written the “harsh” letter to them, they received it and now he is under attack again and he is going to speak boldly in his defence in our first section this morning.
The accusation (2COr10:1-2)
2 Corinthians 10:1–2 NASB95
1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! 2 I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
The accusation / accusers
The Judiazers who claim Paul is bold at a distance and mild in person.
They claim he was bold, confident and even courageous against those who walked in the flesh (v.2)
The Judiazers claim he is meek (some say weak) when face to face (v.1) (see 2Cor10:9-10)
2 Corinthians 10:9–10 NASB95
9 for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.”
They link this to their argument about wavering to come and see them (2Cor1:15-20) where Paul changed travel plans several times.
Paul founded the Corinthian church not to exalt self, not for self gain or promotion but to proclaim and exalt Christ.
A reminder about why church established (1Cor2:1-5)
1 Corinthians 2:1–2 NASB95
1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:3–4 NASB95
3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1 Corinthians 2:5 NASB95
5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
Do you remember recently we talked about role models on Sunday night, or that we love to imitate, we are natural born imitators? Christians will grow and oftentimes imitate in the manner in which they are raised up in Christ. If in a dictatorial leadership they will grow depending on man’s wisdom and not God’s. If they are born in atmosphere of humility and love, they learn to lean, trust, rely, depend on the Lord and His word. Paul wanted converts not to follow Apollos, Peter, Paul, but Jesus, not the servants. Eventhough Paul had all the authority given as an apostle he plays that down.
There is spiritual strength in meekness and gentleness, gee, just look at Jesus.
Matthew 11:29 NASB95
29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Jesus who had all power, all authority displayed gentleness and had a humble heart.
It is not in throwing weight around. Keep this in mind when we look at our next section on spiritual warfare.
Here is something that you may not know, do you know what the name Paul means? It means, small or humble. Notice in (v.1) Paul inserts his own name, I small, humble myself urge you . . .
Now we looked at a passage with gentleness and humility with Jesus a moment ago, now Jesus could be stern or even display righteous anger when it was needed.
Mark 11:15–16 NASB95
15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.
Mark 11:17 NASB95
17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbersden.”
So, here in Paul’s writing he is giving them a warning, please don’t make me come down there and show you how bold, how authoritative I can be.
(Transition) Now, in the next portion of scripture many, including me have used this passage regarding spiritual warfare for personal use. And, yes, it can be conceptually, but contextually it has another meaning in the passage and we are going to look at it contextually this morning
So here is what we are going to look at for the rest of this morning:
The Spiritual warfare (contextually and theoretically)
The weapons of our warfare

The Spiritual warfare

Spiritual warfare is mentioned in several places in the scripture and in several ways, applications and such. Whereas our passage this morning conceptually can be applied personally (internally) but contextually it is applied (externally).
2 Corinthians 10:3–4 NASB95
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 of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
2 Corinthians 10:5–6 NASB95
5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
Gleaning from the text
Question: According to (v.3) how do we not war?
We do not war according to the flesh.
Question: The weapons are not carnal (flesh), but what are they according to (v.4)?
They are divinely powerful, with a purpose for the destruction of fortresses
Question: The weapons are to be used for what purpose (vv.5-6)?
Not putting up answers for this one for there are several
Destroying speculations
Destroying lofty things that are against knowledge of God
For taking every thought captive
To be ready to punish all disobedience
Now let’s get into what this is and what this is not contextually.
This spiritual warfare is not to be confused with (Rom7:23; 1Pt2:11)
This is not the same kind of warfare noted by Paul in Rom7:23 which is against sin.
Romans 7:23 NASB95
23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
That warfare is internal, within each of us.
Nor is this the kind of warfare Peter addresses.
1 Peter 2:11 NASB95
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.
Internal war against the soul, fleshly lusts
Both of those noted are internal not external
(Insert Battlefield PowerPoint here)
The warfare in our text is external
Paul is defending his apostleship against the false teachers, the Judiazers
This war involves
This is the battlefield, keep in mind Paul is addressing the ministry of the false teachers.
The war is fought whenever we try to:
Lead someone to the truth
Lead someone from ignorance to the truth
From misconceptions, teaching to the truth
So, to convert someone to Christ
The objective of the war (textually)
To destroy (defeat) any speculation (v.5)
or lofty thing that is against the knowledge of God. Truth that God through His Word has revealed (like God’s plan of salvation)
To bring into captivity every thought (v.5)
This is teaching someone who hold other thoughts that are not in line with knowledge of God to come to true knowledge of God and come to obedience of Christ (obey the gospel).
To then be obedient to Christ (v.6)
This is to become a servant of Christ.
(Transition) This is the warfare that Paul is addressing to overcome the false teachers, the Judiazers. Every time we try to teach someone the truth it is a battle for their very soul. We know the warfare, we know the battlefield, now let’s look at the weapons.

Weapons for spiritual warfare (Textually)

A reminder while the weapons can be used internally (conceptually) we are talking externally (textually) today.
Question: There are many weapons of war that are used against the flesh. What kind of weapons can you think of?
What the weapons of this warfare (textually) are not:
Gun, bomb, hand grenade, etc.
These can take help to take people (physically) into captivity, but not take their thoughts.
In the Crusades they found this out when they captured and took, but could not enslave the minds of the people.
Weapons of the flesh, against the flesh
Hatred, contentions, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions as seen in Gal5:19-21)
Galatians 5:19–20 NASB95
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
Galatians 5:21 NASB95
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
These are weapons, works of the flesh oftentimes used in spiritual battles to win arguments and not souls. At their best they can silence the opposition through intimidation.
Hard fact look at (v21) those who use these weapons will not inherit the kingdom of God, They do not have salvation, they are bringing condemnation on themselves.
(Transition) so the weapons for this spiritual battle are not carnal, either against the flesh or of the flesh. So now we move on to what they are.
Weapons we do have that are mighty in God.
(Insert PowerPoint weapons for spiritual battle)
We looked at what the weapons for this war are not, now may we look at what they are.
Question: What spiritual weapons do you know, or think of to use in the battle before us today?
So if you think we have been scripture light this morning in this bible study, well hold on for here we go.
First weapon, sword of the Spirit (Eph6:17)
Question: What is the sword of the Spirit? If you need to turn to the passage that is OK. _______________
The word is living and powerful (Heb4:12)
Hebrews 4:12 NASB95
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
It is able to bring faith (Rom10:17 Jn20:30-31)
WE know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God
WE know that these things have been written to us so that we may believe and have life in His name.
It is able to save souls (Jm1:21)
James 1:21 NASB95
21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
Able to cause one to be born again (1Pt1:23)
1 Peter 1:23 NASB95
23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
When using the weapon of the word speak the truth in love (Eph4:15; 2Cor10:1; 2Tim2:24-26)
Ephesians 4:15 NASB95
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
And in 2Cor10:1 which is part of our passage today we can see with meekness and gentleness. then look what Paul instructed Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:24–25 NASB95
24 The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
2 Timothy 2:26 NASB95
26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
So do it with patience and gentleness.
When used properly then will do wonders to diffuse any potential problems or controversies (Pro15:1; Pro26:21)
check out
Proverbs 15:1 NASB95
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
now contrast with
Proverbs 26:21 NASB95
21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
These things, using the word, speaking the word in love with meekness, gentleness, patience and humility can make it possible to
Address controversial issues without acting out with controversial behavior
Disagree without being disagreeable
Argue without being argumentative
To contend without being contentious
Effectiveness requires the whole armor of God
Not just the sword of the Spirit (Eph6:17)
But the fruit of the spirit (Gal5:22-23)
(below not on screen; just quote it)
Galatians 5:22–23 NASB95
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
We need the effective necessary tools so we can rightly divide the word (see 2Tim2:15).
Adorn the word of truth with meekness, gentleness, patience and humility
We are not going to persuade people by beating them over the head, oh wait, I mean by using any type of force.
People need to come to believe with all their heart, not fear. (below not on the outline so have them write it down)
Acts 8:36–37 NASB95
36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
People need to be teachable, they must be won over by the truth of our arguments which are powerful to pull down strongholds!
(Insert PowerPoint Spiritual Weapons)
they are mighty in God: they include meekness, gentleness, patience and humility. With such weapons it greatly increase the battlefield strategy and hopefully the reception of the truth, and the truth will accomplish it’s good works (Isa55:11)
Isaiah 55:11 NASB95
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
May we be willing to use it often in many situations and ways to bring souls to Christ!
So, gear up today with the Word, the fruit of the Spirit, and let’s take on some spiritual battles, textually speaking today.
(Prayer) (Exit)
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