Summary: This sermon discusses the fact that we as Christians are egaged in an ongoing spiritual war with the forces of evil.
Introduction: We as a nation are engaged in a War on Terrorism. Our enemy dealt a serious blow to us on September 11, 2001. Since then we have taken the fight to our enemies but they have not given up. In fact they continue to kill our young men and women serving in Iraq on a daily basis, while inflicting as much damage as they possibly can to the Iraqi government and infrastructure.
Of course our enemies in this war don’t wear uniforms or drive tanks, so it is much more difficult to identify them. They also utilize car bombs and suicide bombers to do most of their dirty work, both of which are extremely difficult to guard against. Their goal is of course to weaken our resolve and will to fight to the point that we will eventually pack up and leave.
But I don’t want to spend our time discussing the pros and cons of the war in Iraq or Al Queda’s strategy. I want to discuss a much more important war that is being waged all around the world today. It is a war between good and evil, a War that has been raging since the day God kicked Satan out of Heaven.
The Apostle Paul describes this battle in his letter to the church at Epehsus. In Ephesians 6:10-18. Follow along as I read this passage.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground,
and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
The Apostle Paul understood that we as Christians are engaged in a Spiritual War that is just as real as the war our soldiers are fighting over in Iraq today. He also understood that we are fighting a real enemy in Satan, and that He is just as dangerous and just as committed to His cause as Al Queada.
However, today fewer people than ever before actually believe in the Devil. In 1966 A man submitted a manuscript entitled THE DARK PRINCE to a well-known publisher. The publisher refused to publish the book however because they said the subject was a dead issue and no one believed in that sort of thing of any more. That was almost 40 years ago, but unfortunately that statement is truer today than it has ever been before.
In fact According to the latest poll conducted by the George Barna, 60 % of Americans believe that the devil, or Satan, is not an actual living being but is simply a symbol of evil.
Someone once said, "The devil’s cleverest trick is to make people believe that he does not exist." Someone else said, "The devil may be out of fashion for some, BUT HE’S NOT OUT OF BUSINESS."
Which reminds me of something Billy Sunday, an Evangelist of the early 20th Century, once said. He said, "I know that the devil is real for two reasons. #1, Because the Bible says so. And #2, BECAUSE I’VE DONE BUSINESS WITH HIM."
Most of us here this morning wouldn’t want to admit it, but Like Billy Sunday we’ve all done business with the devil at some time or another.
So the first thing I want you to remember today is that we as a church are engaged in a Spiritual War against a very Real enemy named Satan.
Unfortunately many Christians today have forgotten that. They mistakenly believe that their brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with them about certain things are their enemies. In fact some of you here this morning may believe that I am public enemy #1. But that’s not what our text says. Look again at what Paul said in verse 12.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.