Summary: Spiritual warfare is confined to within us. Satan is defeated and powerless unless we chose to give him his power back. This sermon looks at 5 ways we can do that.
Let me begin today with a reminder of what Sun Tzu wrote in his book “The Art of War.” “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”
If you know the enemy and yourself you will not be put at risk of being harmed, injured, or destroyed. Therefore, we will continue learning about the enemy and ourselves in the role of spiritual warfare.
A woman bought an extravagant dress, and the husband asked why it had to be so extravagant, she said, “The devil made me buy it”. The husband asked, “Why didn’t you say get behind me Satan?” The woman said, “I did and said it looked as good in the front as it did in the back”.
When Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians about the importance of forgiving a certain individual, it was so they would be familiar with evil schemes of Satan. Jesus said that a part of the ministry of his believers would be to “cast out demons in my name” and “to knock down the strong holds of human reasoning.”
When we hear these statements, we tend to think of a ministry of exorcism where demons are cast out of someone. And we tend to think of debating the word of God with such effectiveness that the truth overcomes unbiblical reasoning that the world presents. While these statements are true, they are not the entire framework of the believer’s responsibility.
Before we can battle the enemy, we must realize that we also have demonic influences in our lives. We also have strong holds of human reasoning in our lives. Look at the lady at the beginning of our teaching. She was allowing a demonic influence to overcome her sense of reasoning. Although this was a joke, it happens constantly among believers. Although we are redeemed, we can allow ourselves to continue to be spiritual hostages.
1 John 3:7-8 “Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.”
Remember last week we talked about Adam, not having the knowledge of good and evil did not have to walk a balancing beam as we do. We desire to live a righteous life. But we have an enemy in the devil that shows us our sinful ways to remind us that we are still capable of sinning. As we discovered last week Paul never realized that coveting was a sin until it was exposed as sin. Then he wanted to sin even more. It’s like a child. When they go to touch something and you say “No” they usually don’t turn from it. Suddenly there is a desire to touch the item now that is irresistible to them. So is the devil’s work in our lives. When God says “No” the enemy fills us with a desire to do that which God has commanded us not to do.
Jesus came to destroy those works. The Greek word is luo and it meant to untie or to loosen. John the Baptist used this same word when he said, “I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals.”
So Jesus came to untie and loosen the binding power that the devil has over us. And He succeeded in doing so. We are no longer bound by Satan and his evil influences. Romans 8:12 tells us we have no obligation to do what our sinful nature urges us to do. Yet it seems that we allow ourselves to be bound up in sin numerous times. It’s because we open the doorways of our minds to allow the devil to gain the foothold he desires.
Read Romans 6:11 “So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.”
The Bible also says, “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.” “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.” “My old self has been crucified with Christ.” We have been crucified with Christ and we are dead. Why is that important for us to realize?