Summary: Spiritual Warfare, not really a very Baptist thing to talk about, or Mennonite for that matter. But just because we are uncomfortable with the idea, doesn’t mean it isn’t very real.
Spiritual Warfare, not really a very Baptist thing to talk about, or Mennonite for that matter. But just because we are uncomfortable with the idea, doesn’t mean it isn’t very real.
December 18th, the day the church was full, I had prepared a strong message, and we were doing something very meaningful in dedicating five babies that morning to the Lord. I was nervous and I get to the church and nothing on the computer was working. It was on but none of the things we needed for the service were working. So time I wanted to spend in prayer and preparation were used to get it working, and we finally did.
A little while later I come walking out of my office and the titanium nose piece on my relatively new glasses just snaps while I am walking into the sanctuary. I go through the rest of the service with my glasses half off my face. I come to sit in the sanctuary and turn in my seat, and the wire from the microphone gets pulled on and snaps. So was it all bad luck, worn out equipment, carelessness, or invisible powers and principalities.
But here’s the thing, whatever it was, none of it stopped us and God was glorified. Satan can do nothing to interfere with the work of God if we persevere and don’t let him get into our hearts and minds. We won, and we will always win with God’s power in Jesus’ name.
Today we baptize 7 people, this is not good news to Satan, and this is partly a victory over mental and emotional strongholds that people have had keeping them from being baptised in the past. Some of these strongholds we aren’t even aware of until they’re dissolved.
If you have a bible turn with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and meet me at verse 2 (read to verse 6).
This passage starts with a plea and a warning, and as he continues we see what he considers to be strongholds, and they are basically faulty arguments and man’s opinions about God. How does Satan primarily attack? Through our thoughts. Now every once in a while when he can’t get to us just by influencing our thinking, he has God’s consent to affect the physical realm in some ways to get us doubting. Think of the story of Job, and Paul’s thorn in the side, that he calls a messenger from Satan to torment me.
Sensa commercial: That is so common isn’t it? It sounds great, but please don’t go buy that stuff. I don’t know about you but being full never stopped me from eating something I wanted. Empty promises that we can easily do difficult things without any effort. We just sprinkle God on that sinful relationship, or that addiction. We need heart transplants, you can’t just change behaviour, because it won’t take and last unless the heart is changed. Addiction or strongholds are essentially symptoms of idolatry, placing some thing above God. We say save me from this, but don’t make me give it up.
Every diet works for some people. I could start a stand on your head diet today and it would work for some people. Because if we believe strongly in something, if we desperately desire something, and this is the biggy, if we are willing to do anything it takes, change can happen. Throw God’s power into the equation and we are unstoppable. And that goes for our faith too. But the heart is in the desire and willingness, and if that’s not there you can sprinkle as much as you want, you’re not going to get results.
I was in the mental health and addictions field for 15 years, and I firmly now believe that most of what we call mental illness has some component of spiritual influence. Yes there may be some biological influence, but nobody ever really got better for good without a spiritual component. That is why Paul says take every thought captive to obey Christ to be in line with His thinking and promises, and we must be ready to punish every disobedience.
Go back to chapter 2 verse 9, of 2 Cor. Paul says, “The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and remain obedient in everything.” The context here is that there is a rebellious minority in the church of Corinth that was spreading self fulfilling false ideas and causing quite a bit of division. By the way this is rampant in the Christian church today. And the disobedience he is referring to is listening to and following what these false teachers were saying. Acting on the wrong thoughts and words. And Paul is basically “Don’t make me come there!”
So the first thing I want to point out is that our spiritual strongholds are usually bound in and caused by, I. Wrong Thinking. As a thought or group of thoughts get more and more ingrained in our lives they affect everything we do, and it is hard to fight them with purely physical or behavioural means. In fact we often forget that we are even thinking it because the thoughts become so automatic. Isaiah says in Isa 44:18-19 when talking about idolatry, that “they understand nothing, no one stops to think”. We just go along blindly believing our thoughts are true. So Paul says we have divine weapons to demolish these strongholds. What are they? Come with me to Ephesians 6 and verses 10-18 (read).