Summary: You have been given authority over the enemy.

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#April 3, 2011

Morning Worship

Text: Luke 10:17-24

Subject: Spiritual Warfare

Title: Strongholds Must Come Down

I want to begin this morning by asking a question. Is spiritual warfare real? And if you believe that it is real, then how significant do you think that it is in your life? I suppose what I am really asking is this, “Do you think that satan and his demons are in continual opposition to you and will do anything they can to bring you down or render you ineffective for the cause of Christ?”

Back in 1993 a young family with three children decided that Mom and Dad should become foster parents. The oldest daughter had gone off to college. Mom and Dad had been saved for five years and the three children had followed suit. The two children at home were fifteen and thirteen. Although the parents were saved the church that they were in never taught them about spiritual warfare. It was never mentioned, mainly because this church didn’t believe in the authority of the believer. Let’s get back to the story. In early spring of 1993 a nine-year-old girl was brought into the home by family services. Sheila was a pretty girl with dark hair and big brown eyes. She looked like she could have been one of the family. Sheila’s caseworker assured the family that all Sheila needed was love. So they took her in and loved her.

It would be a wonderful ending to a nice story if I could tell you that the family loved Sheila so much that they adopted her and took her to be one of their own. Wonderful – but not true. The fact is that shortly after coming to the house Sheila began to exhibit some strange behavior. She began to play with her Barbie and Ken dolls in a very inappropriate fashion. She started acting out in school. Even though her grades were improving she would shut down every time she was corrected by one particular young male teacher. She would hide under her desk and would not come out. At home whenever Mom was gone and Sheila was left with just the dad present – even with the other kids at home – she would act out. When corrected for something she had done she would hide on one of the shelves in her bedroom closet and no one could find her. She would get a wild look in her eyes and it would appear as if there was no one at home inside her little body. Finally it happened that one day when mom was away from the house Sheila really began to act out inappropriately and had to be put in “time out”. When the mom came home she found Sheila sitting in her time out chair with her knees up in her chest rocking back and for and chanting with an obviously demonic voice that was not hers, “The devil is in me… the devil is in me…”

Some of you may know or may have guessed that this is a true story about Charlotte and I and our daughters Emily and Tricia. Jill was away at college so she didn’t experience much of it. The reason that I shared this story with you is not just to offer proof that there is a spiritual battle, but to show you the depth of the spiritual battle. First, Charlotte and I were very effective in leading other Roman Catholics to salvation after we were saved. The devil doesn’t mind religious people but he doesn’t want them saved. So he decided to attack us. Secondly, look at the depth of the spiritual battle. 1) he used the case worker to deliberately deceive us about Sheila’s condition in order to get her into the house. She never told us that Sheila’s mother’s boy friend was the high priest of the satanic worship in Lincoln County. She never shared that Sheila had been sexually abused over and over during satanic worship. We never heard that Sheila apparently saw a baby skinned alive – we later found out that she shared with her therapist in great detail to process. She never told us that Sheila was often locked in a closet full of snakes when she was bad. (That explained why she would hide up on a shelf in a closet when we corrected her – she didn’t want the snakes to get her.) 2) he used Sheila to bring disruption to our house and begin to attack our daughters. They became so frightened of her that they would go to their rooms and stay. 3) he used the whole situation to try to drag us down and turn us away from God. I can only thank God that it was at this time in our spiritual walk that we had begun to understand the concept of spiritual warfare by reading the novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti.

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