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Spiritual Warfare

by: FMIN Apostolic Leadership Team

How do we counter the works of the enemy? In the following scripture Jesus lays it out. Luke 10:9 in the gospels gives a mandate to disciples, "And into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."

This is the ministry direction given to the disciples. Then in Luke 10:19 we hear from Jesus Himself, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."

The disciples were amazed by the results. Jesus said He saw Satan fall like lightning. In other words, satan's hold on people through sickness or demonic influence or ignorance was broken. The best way to break the enemy's stronghold over a community is to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons and raise the dead. This sets the captives free and changes the hearts of it's residents.

We must get our basis or understanding on Spiritual Warfare from the writings of the New Testament. In II Corinthians 10:5, Paul says, "For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Notice that the weapons are for casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Both of these areas are dealing with the mind. Our battle against the devil takes place right between our ears.

The Greek word used to describe imaginations is "logismos," and is described here as "a reasoning that is hostile to Christ and His Word." It is translated in other versions by the phrases "proud arguments against God, proud obstacles, arguments, arrogance, theories and conceits of men, deceptive fantasy and speculations." The high things include anything that opposes the true knowledge about God and His Christ as revealed in the Bible.

The mind is the battlefield in which thoughts and reasonings contrary to God's Word are to be captured and submitted to Christ, our Commander. Just as enemy soldiers are captured in war, so rebel thoughts must be taken captive and made to submit to Christ.

We are in warfare but our warfare is not with the devil. The warfare is with our minds, our thoughts. Satan has already been defeated. Any Christian fighting the devil is wasting his time. Many Christians who fight the devil do not believe that Jesus totally conquered the devil. The devil is not our problem. Our thoughts are the problem.

In I Peter 2:11, it talks about how lust wars in our soul. "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul." Warfare is taking place in my soul, my mind and emotions, between the devil and me, but in my thoughts. Lusts war against our minds.

A vain imagination is a thought not based on reality, not based on the Word of God. We must bring thoughts into captivity by first and foremost knowing the New Covenant and that we are hidden in Jesus! Did Jesus already do something about this? We can meditate on the Word and when vain imaginations come we are not as susceptible to the lies because of being established in the truth!

The two most legitimate types of warfare are firstly, when we conquer the devil in our own lives so we can live for Jesus. Then, secondly, when we conquer the devil in others and lead them to victory in Jesus. Spiritual warfare is capturing a city by preaching the gospel to the people in them! Deception is at work when we see evangelism DE-emphasized.

Dr. Jim Richards says, "While prayer is the essential prerequisite for ministry, it can never become the substitute. Apart from coupling evangelism with all of our prayer programs, it is little more than spiritual entertainment. While we play spiritual games, multitudes are entering eternity without Jesus. Don't stop praying, don't stop early morning prayer, don't stop anything, just start doing it for the right reason. After you pray... WITNESS."

Ephesians 6:11-16, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you 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 your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 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, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel."

Paul said to put on the WHOLE armor of God. Many Christians have been running around with their helmet of salvation on and nothing else. There is more to overcoming the devil than just being saved. We have to understand our righteous position in the Lord, faith, the Word and the gospel of peace. Paul makes it very clear that our warfare is not against people but against the spiritual powers that operate behind the scenes through people. Therefore, we can not win a spiritual battle with carnal weapons. We must realize who the real enemy is and fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord has given us.

There are four ranks of Satan's hierarchy mentioned in this verse. "Principalities" seem to be the rulers in satan's hierarchy. The Greek word used for principality in this verse is "arche," and may possibly be referring to fallen archangels. One archangel that is mentioned in scripture is Michael, who is referred to in Daniel 10:13 as being one of the chief rulers. Angels of this type many times seem to have a ministry over the affairs of whole nations.

The fourth rank mentioned, and the most frequently engaged enemy with which we deal, is referred to as "spiritual wickedness in high places" or "wicked spirits in the earth's atmosphere." The purpose of these spirits is to work against and destroy all that is of Jesus Christ. They do this in the following ways:

1. By hindering God's work (I Thessalonians 2:17-18; Acts 17:1-9; Luke 4:5-6; Revelation 2:10)

2. By blinding men's minds (II Corinthians 4:4)

3. By beguiling, misleading, and deceiving men (II Corinthians 11:3)

4. By tempting mankind (I Corinthians 7:5)

5. By buffeting God's people (II Corinthians 12:7)

6. By attempting to corrupt and infiltrate the Church of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 11:15; I Timothy 4:1)

It is supposed by many that the higher echelons of the devil's spiritual authority take more power to rebuke or remove. That is not true. There is no demonic power, including the devil himself, that will not flee at the name of Jesus when faith is put in that name.

In recent years, there has also been a misapplication of this verse that has led some to believe the only way you can do battle against this "spiritual wickedness in high places" is to climb tall mountains or buildings or even rent airplanes and intercede from these heights. That is ridiculous and voids the very context of this verse. We can't fight spiritual forces in physical ways. Our intercession will work on any demonic power from right where we are.

Some people get very angry when anyone advocates total victory in the Christian life. They don't think it is obtainable and therefore wrong to promote such ideas and get peoples, hopes up. But this verse teaches that our shield of faith will quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one. Total victory is possible!

It is important to realize that this victorious Christian life doesn't happen because there is no opposition. Satan will shoot his fiery darts. In fact, once a person starts standing on the Word of God, the attack intensifies. But victory over all the attacks of the enemy is possible. Paul said, "Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ" (II Corinthians 2:14). Paul had great opposition, but he always won.

It is true that total victory is not common among Christians, and, from the viewpoint of some, it may be non-existent; but it is not because it is not available. Teaching that God wills us to fail at times is like telling an athlete that his coach wants him to lose. We all learn from defeats, and losing can be used to make us better people, but real winners never plan to lose. Christians who plan to lose, will.

To be standing in the evil day (v.13), we must be standing clad in the armor of God. Seven pieces of armor are mentioned. Five are defensive and two are offensive, with one being preparatory. The armor is mentioned as being: a belt, a breastplate, shoes, a shield, a helmet, a sword, and prayer.

Paul is saying that truth is the belt that allows us to fight without being entangled in our garments. Those who do not surround themselves with truth will become entangled in their own web of deceit and will fall.

The next piece of armor mentioned is the breastplate of righteousness. The main reason for this piece of armor is the protection of the heart and vital organs of the body. The breastplate was usually made of interlinking chain mail, metal, bone, or of round discs of metal that gave the appearance of a scale or metal coat. The breastplate was attached to the belt, as was the sword. The breastplate was one of the most important pieces of armor; a soldier would never think of going into hand-to-hand combat without it. It was also one of the heaviest pieces of equipment worn by the soldiers. What the breastplate was to the Roman soldier, righteousness is to the Christian soldier. The breastplate is righteousness.

There are two basic kinds of righteousness mentioned in the scriptures. First is man's righteousness, which is the righteousness that man can accomplish and perform without Christ. Isaiah tells us that all of man's righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). This self righteousness has no value to God, but we do have to maintain a certain amount of this righteousness to get along with men here on earth.

Secondly, there is God's own righteousness which is imputed to us at salvation. Its source is God Himself. God's kind of righteousness comes only through faith. It is a gift, and appropriated through Christ. Righteousness gives us total acceptance with God through Christ. This righteousness, which is a gift from God, produces the practical righteousness evident in the actions of the mature believer.

In the spiritual realm, the shoes of the gospel of peace make a messenger prepared to share the glad tidings of peace. The Living Bible describes this as "?shoes that are able to speed you on as you preach the good news of peace." The NIV translates this as "?and your feet fitted with the gospel of peace as a firm footing."

In Isaiah 52:7 describes these shoes similarly, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, and publishes peace; that brings good tidings of good that publishes salvation." The gospel of peace being spoken of here is not peace between men; that is a by-product. Rather, this is speaking of peace between God and man. Understanding that God is no longer mad at us keeps us going .

The helmet was a piece of armor that protected the Roman soldier against a deadly blow to the head. What the helmet was to the Roman soldier, salvation is to the Christian soldier. There can be no victory unless the mind is protected with God's Word. Romans 8:6 says, "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." The battlefield of the Christian is in the area of his mind. We must be careful to protect our minds from wrong thinking, and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Every thought can be brought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 10:4-5).

The sword of the Spirit is our only offensive weapon. In battle, defense is a great asset to any warrior. But if a warrior had only a good defense and no offense, he might protect himself from being badly hurt, but he could not win the battle. This piece of armor is the only piece of armor that has the ability to cut, wound, and hurt our enemy, the devil.

There are several Greek words used for the Word of God. The Greek word used here is ,rhema and it literally means "a spoken word; specifically a spoken word appropriate for your situation." It's not the Bible lying on your coffee table that makes the enemy flee, but it is the Word of God hidden in your heart, activated by the power of the Holy Spirit, and spoken in an appropriate situation. It's similar to what is spoken when Jesus said in John 6:63, "The words that I speak unto you are spirit, and they are life." Ephesians 6:17 is Speaking of the words we speak which come from the written Word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Word by itself doesn't make us free. It is the Word we know and speak that will deliver us (John 8:32).

Why is the Word so effective? It has authority because it is the WORD of God. God's Word supersedes all authority of the church, of reason, of intellect and even of Satan himself.



Just what I needed to read today.
by: Aron Jones

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