Summary: Five keys to winning spiritual battles.
Title: How To Succeed In Spiritual Warfare
Text: Ephesians 6:10-20
Theme: The keys to winning spiritual battles.
Introduction: Resisting The Devil
Laurie Beth Jones tells this story in her book, Grow Something Besides Old. She talks about one Halloween night when she had underestimated the number of children who would come to the door to trick or treat, and she ran out of candy. In desperation, she began giving out quarters, nickels, and dimes.
One little girl about 5-years-old dressed as a fairy princess came to her door. She had the little crown and wand and everything. Jones dropped two quarters into the child’s sack, and said to her, “I’ve run out of candy, but tomorrow you can take these coins to the store and turn them into real candy.”
The little girl stepped back, looked up at her, and said, “Lady, this isn’t a real wand.” (SermonCentral.com.)
Some believers seem to have the same attitude when it comes to spiritual warfare. They believe it isn’t real. They don’t believe in demons; some don’t believe in Satan (and if they do they don’t think they have to worry about him); and they certainly don’t believe that we are fighting spiritual battles on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what the devil wants us to believe. If he can somehow get us to ignore the fact of spiritual warfare, he has succeeded.
Illustration: Believing The Devil
The New York Times reported a study about the diminishing belief in the devil among Americans. Two-thirds of Americans do not believe in the devil as a living entity. In a randomly selected survey of over 1,000 Americans, pollsters asked whether they agreed that Satan is "not a living being, but a symbol of evil." Sixty-two percent agreed with the statement. That means nearly 149 million Americans believe that Satan has no influence but that Satan is just a symbol of evil. We should know and understand that Satan is real and evil is real and that this is our number one enemy as believers in Jesus Christ. (Contributed by: Christopher Roberts. SermonCentral.com.)
Note: Every Christian who is living a faithful life, and every church that is faithful in its calling to win souls for Christ, is engaged in spiritual warfare. When we are faithful, God blesses. And when God blesses, Satan attacks.
Today, right now, at this very moment, our church is involved in a terrible and vicious battle with Satan because we have refocused our prayers and energies on the Great Commission. Every church that becomes a Great Commission church; every church that devotes itself to winning souls for Jesus Christ; will find itself in a spiritual conflict greater than anything that church has ever experienced. And at this very moment Satan is attacking this body of believers with an all-out assault such as we have not seen in some time.
Not only is he attacking the church body, he is also selectively attacking certain individuals among us, hoping to discourage us in this fight; desiring that we quit and refuse to fight.
And sadly, some he already has under his command. And he is using these individuals to spearhead his attack on us, with the intent of turning our focus away from the Great Commission. Presently, the attack on our church is centered on me as your pastor. Satan knows what all army commanders know, if you cut off the head, the snake will die. So it’s no surprise that I should become the personal manifestation of his assault. If he can destroy or even seriously wound God’s man in the pulpit, then he has succeeded in damaging the ministry of the church. And make no mistake about it; he does not want us to be a Great Commission church. He does not want to see even one more soul won to Christ through the ministry and witness of this church and its people.
So the issue before us today is not to question whether or not we are engaged in battle. We are. The issue before us is how do we fight that battle? How can we win over Satan and his evil schemes, especially when there are those among us who are aligning themselves on his side? The answers we find in Ephesians chapter 6.
Quote: The devil and me, we don’t agree; I hate him; and he hates me. – Salvation Army Hymn. (Edythe Draper, Draper’s Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entries 2671.)
I. ENLIST IN THE ARMY OF THE LORD. (Ephesians 6:10)
Illustration: I’m On Your Side
There’s the story of the man who went to a fancy dress ball dressed as the devil. He parked his car and as he ran to the ball venue there was a sudden cloudburst. He ran into a nearby church for shelter and caused instant pandemonium amongst the evening worshipers.