Spiritual Battle: Standing Firm – Know your enemy (v12)
I want to skip ahead to verse 12 to start with, so that we can get more of an understanding of the enemy we are facing. Before going into battle military leaders will study their enemy and gather intelligence to get a better understanding of the task ahead. As the saying goes “forewarned is forearmed”
“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”
– Who is the enemy? The simple answer is Satan and his demons.
How does the Bible describe Satan? We don’t have time to study the passages in depth but there are many references to and explanations of Satan and his work through scripture:
From the beginning of Genesis in the Garden of Eden we see how Satan uses temptation and compromise to lead man away from God.
From Jesus Ministry we also know that he has demons and evil spirits because Jesus casts them out on several occasions
Right through scripture we can see that he is active, however he only ever operates within the parameters that God allows, as we see with Job.
Satan is referred to in different ways in the New Testament:
- Ruler of demons – Luke 11:15
- The ruler of this world – John 16:11
- The prince of the power of the air – Eph 2:2
There are 3 key points to take from this verse about the devil and his demons:
- They are powerful – they must not be underestimated. They have been defeated on the cross but they have not conceded defeat.
- They are wicked – They use their power destructively. There are no rules of engagement and they will do whatever it takes to bring believers down.
- They are cunning – Sometimes he attacks in an obvious way and at other times he is more covert and subtle. Distorting truth – not blatant lies.
Modern thinking might dismiss Satan and evil spirits as superstition and in many respects the church doesn’t always realise the full impact of his evil scheming.
He is VERY REAL and DANGEROUS! He is not flesh and blood but works in the spiritual realms.
If you are tempted to think that there are no evil forces at work just look at our own country:
- We have more witches than vicars,
- There is a large following of the occult and paganism,
- Our TVs and bookshelves are filled with horror stories and psychological thrillers
- People would rather read horoscopes than a Bible
- Halloween is celebrated with more enthusiasm than Easter!
We face an onslaught from evil on a daily basis – perhaps more than ever before with our technological age and the erosion of morals and ethics in our society. Our culture of instant gratification and self-centredness completely dominates every area of life. Sex, money and power are the idols of our society and in many ways they are very attractive, which is why they are so dangerous. You only have to turn on the TV to be faced with a barrage of compromised values, broken relationships and distorted world’s views on what is important and valuable.
From legalistic religions to overtly atheistic immorality, we have temptation on every side. We are saturated and bombarded with immorality and we need to be aware of this and be ready to resist and protect ourselves.
The Bible tells us to flee temptation and to guard against these influences. This means turning the TV off if something lewd appears, avoiding gossiping about work colleagues, etc. This is your responsibility and you need to take it seriously.
Satan won’t necessarily use disaster and despair to shatter the church. In fact he knows that often draws us closer to God. He subtly infiltrates our thinking and makes us compromise so that we are knocked off course.
Satan wants us to be occupied with lots of meetings and agendas. He wants us to be preoccupied with insignificant detail, and being religious. Some churches can fall into that trap and become more concerned about petty squabbles and their own comfort, than spreading the gospel.
M. Lloyd-Jones wrote the following about under-estimating the devil :–
“ I am certain that one of the main causes of the ill state of the church today is the fact that the devil is being forgotten. All is attributed to us; we have all become so psychological in our attitude and thinking. We are ignorant of this great objective fact, the being, the existence of the devil, the adversary, the accuser, and his fiery darts.”
We can underestimate the power of Satan, but the other extreme is crediting him with too much power.
1 John 4:4
” You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
The victory been won, but the battle rages on. We are not to fear, because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ:
Romans 8:37 says – “37 … in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future ,nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
TWO EXTRA POINTS TO REMEMBER:
****We must remember not to confuse people as the enemy. We are called to love people as Christ loved them and to draw them towards God. Satan is the powerful one and he uses people who are in his clutches to pervert, destroy and oppose.
****There is nothing in the Bible to say that demons dwell in believers. We are the temple of God and we are filled with his Holy Spirit. However we will be attacked because until we were saved by grace we were in the clutches of the devil. He wants to get us back and draw us away from God.
Until Christ returns or we go to be with Him in heaven, we will face this battle.
So how are we to combat this enemy?….