Summary: How do we defeat Satan? It appears we do it by (as a Church) beating down the gates of Hell. But how exactly do that, and what is the objective in beating down those gates?
When Joe Louis was in his prime he fought "Two-Ton" Tony Galento. Louis was favored to win because 2 Ton Tony loved to fight… but he hated to train. At the first part of the fight, Galento threw his Sunday punch and sent Louis sprawling to the mat. Louis was more surprised than hurt and jumped to his feet without waiting for the count.
But at the end of the round his manager scolded him saying: "You know you're supposed to take the full count when you go down. Why didn't you stay down for nine?"
Louis responded "What, and give him a chance to rest?"
Joe Louis was annoyed.
He KNEW he was better than Galento but he’d been sucker punched and got knocked down to the mat. It so frustrated him, he jumped right back up…and got back into the fight.
What I find intriguing about this morning’s text is that we’re told we are better than our opposition. In fact, if we fight the way we should we cannot lose against our enemy.
Paul tells us we have weapons that have “divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” II Corinthians 10:4-5
What Paul’s saying is: we have the advantage over our opponent! We have the ability to take our opponent to the mat and win the fight.
And that’s great news…
But, the thing is - it doesn’t always feel like we have the advantage.
Especially when we find people making fun of our faith, or attacking the church, or questioning Scripture, or putting Jesus down.
At times like that we tend to feel… inadequate.
But Paul says: Not only are you NOT inadequate… you are VERY adequate.
You have the weapons to take the enemy down.
Let me repeat something I said just a moment ago:
If we fight the way we should…we can NOT LOSE against our enemy.
Now, who is our enemy? (SATAN)
In fact, the name “satan” means “adversary”.
Satan is our adversary.
Ephesians 6:12 says “… 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.”
So our fight is NOT against the people who
• make fun of our faith
• or attack the church
• or question Scripture
• or put Jesus down
They may mightily annoy us, but those folks are NOT our enemies.
In fact, Paul tells us that these folks have been “taken captive to do (Satan’s) will” 2 Timothy 2:26
We’re not fighting them.
We’re fighting Satan.
He’s our enemy!
So, if Satan is our enemy, how do we fight him?
Well… we don’t.
At least not directly.
Jude tells us that “… even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Jude 1:9
So here we have an archangel - one of the most powerful angels in heaven - having a dispute with Satan. But even he doesn’t directly fight Satan. Granted, he’s on contending with the devil over Moses’ body, but when it comes to the real conflict Michael says
“The Lord rebuke you!”
Essentially, he turns the battle over to God.
That’s what happens with us.
We DO contend with Satan.
We DO need to protect ourselves against his onslaughts.
But when it comes down to doing DIRECT battle with Satan… we need to turn that over to God. And when we do that… we have this promise: “…the evil one cannot harm (us).” 1 John 5:18
So, if God is the one fighting Satan, what’s all this about us having “divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God…”?
Well, this is where it gets interesting.
We don’t DIRECTLY attack Satan, but we do DIRECTLY attack his kingdom.
Jesus told us “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (ESV)
Who is the church? (We are)
You and I are the church.
Jesus built us with His blood.
And as the church we are called upon by God to prevail against the gates of Hell.
The gates of hell are the boundaries of Satan’s domain.
We’re to attack the gates… and those gates will NOT prevail against us.
This is the stronghold we’ve been given the divine power to demolish.
The gates of hell are the doors to Satan’s kingdom and you and I have been empowered to beat those doors down.