Summary: Message 16 from Philippians expanding on Paul's admonition to stand firm. This message deals with standing firm against the devil.
“Stand Firm against the schemes of the Devil”
Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers some key elements to “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”.
1. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS – Passion to praise exalt Christ
2. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – Passion to please Christ
3. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – Passion to pursue Christ
4. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – Passion to live well
Passion to live well
A. Stand firm in the Lord 4:1
Therefore, my brothers, dearly loved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, dearly loved.
APPLICATION OF STAND FIRM IN THE LORD
Stand firm against persecution and false teaching
Stand firm in the storms of life.
Stand firm against the schemes of the Devil
There are four key passages that specifically address the mandate to stand firm against Satan’s schemes. I want to read them first and then take some time to draw out some specific observations.
I will organize my observations under four standard observational questions.
What, Who, Why and How?
What are we called to do? God clearly calls to a specific action or responsibility. “Let go and let God!” does not apply here. Several terms come into play that unmistakably call for active involvement. Like in any war, we cannot adopt a passive stance in the war against Satan.
Most of the terms indicate a continuous action.
STAND / RESIST
The Greek term “to stand” appears 158 times in the New Testament and another 14 times appearing with the preposition “against”. It means pretty much what we think it means; to hold your ground, continue, abide, stand stationary, resist, stand against, oppose.
“stand against the schemes of the devil” Eph 6
“stand resist in the evil day” Eph 6
“stand having taken up the armor” Eph 6
“resist the Devil and he will flee from you” James 4
“Resist him (the Devil) firm in your faith” 1Pet 5
It is the same root verb found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians where he commands them to “stand firm in the Lord”. We are called to take and active stand when it comes to spiritual warfare. Beyond standing firm, other terms appear in these passages indicating intentional action. If we were only told to stand one could conclude that our responsibility was only defensive. Logically, no one wins with a purely defensive strategy. Other terms indicate there is an offensive element to our warfare. God even provides and offense weapon in the “sword of the Spirit.” Jesus declared that the gates of hell would not prevent the building of His church.
Gates are intended to prevent encroachment. He intends His church to invade the enemy’s territory to rescue souls.
“the wrestling is not against flesh and blood.” Eph 6
This term is only found here. It indicates a up close and personal conflict.
QUENCH / EXTINGUISH
“extinguish the firey darts of the Devil” Eph 6
Again, it means what you think it means. It literal means to put out a fire.
“we do not war according to the flesh” 2 Cor 10
“weapons of our warfare are not fleshly” 2 Cor 10
The verb form relates to fighting in a military conflict.
“for the destruction of fortresses destroying speculations.” 2 Cor 10
This action refers to demolition, extinction, annihilation, pulling down
“we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor 10
These actions refer to something WE do. Most would like to ignore any kind of spiritual warfare hoping it will go away. Don’t give the Devil any attention. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote in his commentary on Ephesians 6…
"Anyone who is not aware of a fight and a conflict in a spiritual sense is in a drugged and hazardous condition."
I find this passage not what I would normally think.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:20
Jesus delegated authority over Satan and his demons to His followers.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20
These passages identify the enemy. Any war strategy must clearly identify the enemy. You’ve got to know who you are fighting. We must focus on fighting the right enemy. The Scriptures identify the enemy by several names. Serpent, prince of the Power of the air, devil, Satan, Lucifer, demons, evil spirits, fallen angels. The name Satan appears 60 times in the Bible.