Last week I spoke to you about our spiritual growth, and I showed you the four most common reasons why people stop growing spiritually. Additionally, week before last I spoke to you about the blessings of God, and I demonstrated how the spiritual blessings are far superior to any material thing that we may receive; the reason being is that spiritual blessings are perfect in every sense of the word, as they are not something temporary. In case that you have not noticed, the theme behind the two previous preachings have been taking care of our spiritual life, and there is a very important reason why I have been so persistent in this theme. The reason for my persistence in this theme is because this part of our Christian life is something that is overlooked by many. This part of our Christian life is something that many people pay very little or no attention to whatsoever, and there is a grave danger in that.
The grave danger that exists is that at this very moment a war is being fought for our souls. At this very moment there is a devastating war that is being fought, the thousands of people are falling either dead or seriously wounded in the battlefields. Unfortunately this war is something that many fail to or do not want to recognize, or perhaps just simply choose to ignore. But regardless of these types of attitudes or way of thinking, the truth of the matter is that every human being in this world is involved in this war. Many choose to ignore or accept this war because this it is not something that they can see being reported by the information means of this world. The television news don’t show us graphic pictures or films of the attacks; the newspapers don’t print or publish any statistics about the death toll; and the radio definitively won’t broadcast any reports about the deaths, mutilations, and casualty counts that is experienced on a daily basis. But regardless of the lack of information being disseminated, the war rages on, and it is a war that is being fought since the beginning of human kind.
The grim reality that exists is that there are two armies that participate in the war, the army of God, and the army of the devil. The grim reality of it all is that if we are not aware of, or if we simply choose to ignore this war, then it will be very easy for the enemy to make us fall in the battlefield either seriously wounded, or completely dead. This is why today I wish to remain in the spiritual theme, and to study about the spiritual war. Let us study about this devastating war with the purpose of discovering the facts about it, and how to wage a successful battle against he forces of our enemy. Let’s now turn to the portion of the scripture that we will be using today.
Ephesians 6:10-18 - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints
The first thing that we can obverse in these verses that we are studying today is a powerful message about where we need to draw our power from, and a stern warning about who we are fighting. This is very evident when we read” Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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”. Now, I know that there are many out there that have read this on more than one occasion and are totally convinced that this something that does not apply to them. Many just think, I am only a Christian and not a spiritual warrior, or perhaps I am just a Christian and not a leader. Many say, I am not a prayer warrior or intercessor, therefore I am not involved. But if any of those or similar thoughts have ever crossed your mind, and you have submitted to them, then I’m sad to inform you that have fallen in the battlefield gravely wounded. I say this because there is no exception as to who participates in this war; every human being forms part of it.
The only thing that separates the believer from the rest is that the believer fights in army of God. The sad reality is that every person that does not faithfully serve God, automatically falls under the control of the powers of darkness, and is an active member in the army of the enemy. Why do I say this? I say this because if we had to briefly describe the meaning of “spiritual war”, our response could be “the war for our mind.” I am talking about the internal struggle between good and evil that we all face every day. Therefore, if someone allows evil thoughts to control their life, then their participation has been clearly defined. Why is this intense battle for our mind taking place? The reason that this is happening is because our enemy knows very well that if he can control the way we think and in what we believe, then he can control the way we live.
The scriptures that we are examining today tell us that we do not battle against “flesh and blood”. This lets us know very clearly that we are not battling against people, governments, religious institutions, or political parties.
The war being waged is not a war with defined borders or countries. The war being fought is not something that we can detect with our human senses, if it was, then the war wouldn’t be so difficult. I say that this war is very difficult because the majority of people in this world are considered visual; in other words, they have to see to believe. The majority of people in this world are like Thomas; in other words, I need to see it, touch it, and smell it before I can believe that it is truly real. If they can’t see it, then it doesn’t exist. If you find that you subscribe to this way of thinking, then Paul’s warning and most of the things contained in the bible are of no use to you. They are of no use to you because you can’t see into the spiritual realm. You can’t see the demons that exist and at times surround you, and since you can’t see them, then you can’t believe. But let’s think for a brief moment about things that constantly surround us that we can’t see, touch or smell, and on occasions we depend on them. How many people here have a cellular phone? How many people here have a beeper? How many have televisions and radios? Why do I ask these questions? I ask these questions because in this modern World that we live in, there are a great number of things that surround us that we can not see. This world is filled with things that surround us that are indiscernible to our senses, but we all know that they exist.
These few items of technology that at times have become indispensable in our life transmit invisible signals, and these invisible signals are non-stop. Right at this moment all of us here are completely surrounded and our bodies are being bombarded by invisible signals. We are talking about things that we can’t see, hear or touch, but regardless of that, they affect or have some sort of impact in our life. The powers of darkness operate in the same fashion. Look carefully at how Paul tells us when we read “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” And just in case you did not know, these powers never rest. Just like the television or radio signals don’t stop just because you turned off your television, the powers of darkness never stop their attack against humanity. Satan’s army is constantly attempting to surround us, and is constantly bombarding us with thoughts and feelings that are not pleasing to God in their attempt to remove us from His presence. We can’t see them, we can’t touch them, but nevertheless they are there. This is the main reason that we must never forget that our enemy is very astute in his tactics, and that there are no means, method, or thoughts that he will not exploit in his attempt to remove us from God’s presence. But a great reality is that we have not been left orphans or without hope. Christ did not leave us at the mercy of the devil and his army of demons. Jesus came to completely destroy the works of the devil. As I have told you numerous occasions, the devil has no power over the life of a faithful believer. The only authority that he has over the life of a believer is that authority that is freely given to him. This is something that is very well reflected in 1 John 3:8 when we read “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Christ destroyed the works of the devil so that you and I could be free from his bondage. Christ destroyed the works of the devil; therefore, the devil can’t force us to do anything. The devil can’t force you, but he will attempt to influence you. What can we do to prevent this from happening? To prevent this from happening we have to dress correctly.
As I told you before, Christ did not abandon us; He did not leave us at the mercy of our enemy. Christ left us weapons that we are to use to wage this war. He left us a complete arsenal. Look at everything that we have been give when we read “13Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Tell the person next to you, we have to dress correctly. Unfortunately, this powerful weapon is something that many fail to wear on a daily basis, and the main reason for this is because many do not understand its significance. Many only see the description of an ancient war instrument, and fail to see the importance that it still holds today. Therefore, let’s examine it a little closer and see if it is something that we can use.
The first part of the armor is the belt; this is what is being referred to here when we read “having your loins girt about with truth.” Many may see this and think that this could never be an essential part of the armor, but in reality this piece is perhaps the most important of them all. I say this because if we were to examine the armor that the roman soldiers used, we would soon discover that the belt was the piece that held it all together. The belt held everything in place, and it was from there that they hung their weapons for battle. What will help us maintain our breastplate in place is the TRUTH. Why do I say this? I say it because the devil is a liar, and the only way that we Hill be able to defeat him in battle is to do it with the TRUTH. Let’s never forget what we find in John 8:32 when we read “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Only when we remain in the truth of God and the sanctity of His Word will we be able to keep the rest of the armor in place.
The second piece of our armor is the breastplate. The scripture tells us “having on the breastplate of righteousness.” If we were to look at this piece of the armor worn by the soldiers of that time, we would soon discover that it was a piece typically made of heavy leather, and in some instances reinforced with pieces of metal. This piece covered the soldier from his neck down to the waist. In other words this piece was designed to protect the soldier’s vital organs. Therefore, a soldier wearing this into battle was better protected because this piece would deflect or prevent weapons from injuring him. Our breastplate is to remain faithful and pure before God.
Our breastplate is properly placed on when we tear from our heart all impure feelings, and erase from our mind all impure thoughts. Our breastplate is reinforced when we do away with sin and the sinful nature of this world and allow the Holy Spirit of God to guide our every step.
The third piece of our armor is the footwear. Look carefully at what the scripture tells us here when we read “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” If we were to look at the footwear of the roman soldier of that time, we would quickly discover that they used sandals made out of heavy leather, but not only this, these sandals oftentimes metal spikes on the souls. The reason for this is because it also could be used as a weapon, and the spikes did provide the soldier better stability in the battlefield regardless of the condition of the terrain. When we study the scriptures, it is impossible to miss that God calls His people to stand. God calls His people to take a stand, and to stand firmly on the truth of His word. This is why our footwear is so important. Our footwear is the gospel of peace. I am talking about the peace that all of us that serve God feel regardless of the situation or circumstance. I am talking about the peace described in Philippians 4:7 when we read "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." If you do not feel this peace, then it will not be very difficult for the enemy to lay spikes in you path. It will not be very difficult for the enemy to lay the broken glass of discouragement and malcontent. If we are not wearing the peace that Christ delivered unto us, then our spiritual feet will be bare and we will be unable to stand firmly on our ground.
The fourth piece of the armor is the shield of faith. The scripture here tells us “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Looking again at the armor for the soldiers at that time, we discover that the shield was in most cases made out of wood, covered with thick leather and it measures approximately four feet high. The soldier would make great use of this weapon and would move it from side to side to protect him during battle. Brethren, the shield that we can use to protect ourselves from the attacks of the enemy is our faith. As I stated earlier, our enemy is very astute. This means that he will look to attack in the area of our life that might be the weakest. If our faith is not at the appropriate level, if we are not taking the time to reinforce it, then it would be just as if a soldier presented himself for battle with a paper shield. This is something that sounds absurd, but the grim reality is that many do not take the time to feed their faith. How do we fee our faith? We feed our faith by listening to the messages that He sends us. Our faith is fed by the Word of God. Without this our faith will wither and eventually fail.
The fifth piece of our armor is the helmet. The scriptures here tell us “take the helmet of salvation.” As I said in the beginning, if we had to define the significance of the spiritual warfare in simple terms, we would do it by saying that it is the battle for our mind. Therefore; this piece of equipment is one that can never be left behind. This piece of equipment can never be misplaced or ignored because it is the one that covers our head. This piece of equipment covers the area of our body where our thoughts and feelings are born. As I said, the devil knows very well that if he can control the way we think, he will be able to manipulate us to act the way he wants us to act. He will be able to manipulate us to act in a way that will separate us from God. Therefore, the helmet of salvation is the knowledge that we are saved by grace and the perseverance in our faith. If we fail to persevere in our faith, if we allow that our thoughts be influenced, then we will fall wounded or even dead in the battlefield.
A great reality about a war is that an army will never be able to win a battle with only defensive weapons. A successful army needs defensive weapons, but they also need offensive ones as well. But, have we offensive weapons in our arsenal? The answer is an absolute YES. We have the two most powerful offensive weapons that exist in the universe, and the only two that will drive the army of the enemy into a complete retreat. The scripture here tells us “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Our first offensive weapon is the Word of God. This is the only weapon that we can use to attack the frontline of the enemy. This is the weapon that we must use to liberate all of those lost souls that exist in this evil and wicked world. In Hebrews 4:12 we read “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word of Gods is penetrating, the Word of God cut, the Word of God clears our thoughts, and the Word of God cleans our entire being. Tell the person next to you, the Word of God is our sword. The Word of God is like a machine gun in our arsenal, but an army just can’t win with only machine guns; an army needs bombs as well. But, have we bombs in our arsenal? Absolutely, what are our bombs? Our bombs are our prayers. Paul said it this way “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Prayer is our bomb because through prayer we reach the presence of the almighty God.
There is absolutely nothing impossible for Him, Jesus said it this way in Luke 1:37 when we read “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Let’s never forget that Moses prayed, and the red sea parted. Let’s never forget that Joshua prayed and the walls of Jericho tumbled down. Let’s never forget that Elijah prayed, and fire descended from heaven. There can be no substitute for prayer, especially if we find ourselves in a difficult situation. Let’s never forget what our Lord tells us in John 14:13 when we read “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” There are many believers that can’t understand that one of the most important weapons that we have is the power of prayer. Yes it is true that we must stand and advance, but the most difficult battles are not won on our feet, they are won on our knees. The most difficult battles can only be won through prayer.
In conclusion, the spiritual war, the war for our mind is something very real. We have to recognize that we are in a war that can’t bee seen with our human eyes. We have to recognize that we are in a war that can’t be detected by our human senses, but regardless of this, this is a very real war, and the casualties are uncountable. Through the years many have fallen seriously wounded, and even dead because they have failed to recognize the war that is raging on. That is why I say that we have to be very alert to all of those things that at time seem insignificant, or unimportant, we can’t just see things with our human eyes, but rather look at them with our spiritual eyes as well. As I have stated in other occasions, oftentimes what appear to be insignificant or unimportant things have a tendency to grow and grow until they separate us from the presence of God. The Word of God is never changing, and the final victory is drawing near, and of this there is no doubt. This is something clearly stated in Revelations 20:10 when we read “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” But while we wait for this final victory, we must be winning the battles. The only way that we will ensure that this happens is by using all of the weapons that have been provided to us. Look now carefully at how you are dressed. Never forget to put on the whole armor of God, and always use the weapons you have been given. The power to win the battles is yours.