Summary: This is the first message in a 5 week series on spiritual warfare. This message focuses on our need to be aware of the reality and enemy of spiritual warfare.
The Battle is the Lord’s
Story: There was once a boxer who was getting pummeled in the ring by his opponent. Battered and bruised, in b/w rounds, the boxer tells his trainer, “Throw in the towel, this guy is killing me.” The trainer says, “No he’s not, he’s barely laid a glove on you.” The boxer replies, “Then I wish you would keep an eye on the referee, b/c somebody in that ring is killing me.”
Truth: We are in a war. It is not a physical fight like what is going on in Iraq, but a spiritual war. And it is a war w/ tremendous consequences. Unfortunately, many people don’t believe or recognize the war and their lives are beaten and bloodied and they don’t know who is throwing the punches.
Insert: How do I know? Just take a look around…
Trans: Fuzzy Memories (Jack Handey) – There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking Karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5 a lesson. That was a lot of money. In fact, I found it was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up Karate.
Truth: Too many Christians find it easier to pay the bully than to learn how to defeat him. Over the next few weeks, we are going to learn about spiritual warfare, our enemy, and how to overcome by the blood of the Lamb.
Trans: If we are going to succeed in this war, then we are going to have to possess a keen awareness as to the reality of the war and its various elements.
I The Enemy of the Battle
Verse: Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes 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 heavenly places. Eph. 6:11-12
A The Enemy’s Identity
Note: While I will go into much greater detail in a couple of weeks – Satan was God’s highest created being who fell b/c he wanted to be greater than God.
Insert: Survey: 62% agreed Satan is not a living being but a symbol of evil.
52% of born again Christians deny Satan’s existence.
72% of Catholics deny the existence of Satan.
2 Principalities, Powers, Rulers of the Darkness – Demons
Note: Fallen angels who are foot soldiers in Satan’s army – including such hardened criminals as anger, rage, lust, dissension, greed, lying, murder…
B The Enemy’s Ambition
Verse: The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life---life in all its fullness. Jn. 10:10
Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Pt. 5:8
Truth: Satan has but one desire for all of God’s creation, including you and me and our church – to destroy us and bring us under his authority.
C The Enemy’s Strategy
Truth: He will lie, cheat and steal. He will use any means to gain control. He will attack you from the front, flank or rear – and he will attack from w/in.
Verse: Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light! 2 Cr. 11:14
Note: Look at how he attacked Adam and Eve – “You won’t surely die, you’ll become like God.”
Look at how he attacked Jesus – “If you submit to me, I will give you authority over all – lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.
Note: The bottomline of Satan’s strategy is that he wants you to think that he is right so that you will pledge allegiance and follow him instead of God.
II The Environment of the Battle
Note: The battlefield of spiritual warfare is fought in heavenly places.
Note: When we think of heaven we generally think of the third heaven - the place where God abides. But the Bible speaks of heaven on two other levels.
The first is the earth and the visible universe – the first heavens.
The second is a spiritual realm where angelic beings abide – and where Satan can approach God to ask for permission to move (Job). It is on this level that spiritual warfare takes place and the Kingdom of God finds itself at odds w/ the dominion of Satan.
Analogy: In Washington D. C. sits Capitol Hill, where Congress makes decisions that affect you no matter where you live. On Capitol Hill, 2 parties are vying for power. These two parties have competing philosophies and desire to lead the country in two different directions.