Summary: Explains the necessity of preparing for spiritual warfare, with emphasis on defensive armor. Explains some of the ways that Satan tries to make us ineffective and gives help for victory over these assaults.
The Armor of God
Last month, I preached about prayer and I issued a challenge for us to wage warfare on Satan’s kingdom in Boston. And it seems that we were all ready to accept that challenge. We have accepted the orders from our master to wage war, but now we need some practical instruction from God’s word on Spiritual Warfare.
I. The Nature of our Warfare.
A. Our fight is not against people, but against Satan
Ephesians 6:12, “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.”
In warfare, there is always an objective. In many wars, the objective is land. For example, in the Middle East, Israel and the Palestinians are fighting because they both want to have the same land. In Afghanistan we’re fighting because we want to destroy the power base of terrorism. Hitler fought because he wanted to create a “superior” race. The Southern states fought the Civil War because they wanted to be free from the oppression of the Northern States. The Gulf War was fought because the U.S. wanted to end the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, so they could have access to oil. I mention all of these wars, not because I want to say who was right or wrong, but to show that in every war, there is an objective. There is a reason we are fighting the war. And the same is true with spiritual warfare. If we are going to wage war on Satan’s kingdom, we have to know what our objective is. Our objective, our mission is to rescue people from Satan’s grip. To free them from his control. Just as Jesus said at the start of his ministry.
Luke 4:18, 19, “18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”
Jude 1:23, “Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need to show mercy, but be careful that you aren’t contaminated by their sins.”
In the recent, attacks against Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, tried to present our fight as the U.S. or the Christian world against the Muslim world. And he tried to present it as the U.S. against the Afghan people. So, President Bush had to very definitely state that our war was against, terrorists and those who support terrorism, not against the people of Afghanistan. And so, it is with our fight against Satan’s kingdom. Even though there are many people involved in this fight, we have to recognize that our fight is not with them. Our fight is against Satan, not the people whom he has under his control. Even, under his control, these people may fight against us, but the fact is that our problem is not really them, but the one controlling them. Our fight is with sin, not with sinners. President Bush was very careful to state that the Afghan people were victims of the terrorists, just as much as the Americans were. And the same is true of those people who come against us in our fight for God’s Kingdom. The people that come against us are not our enemy. They are victims of our enemy, and our very objective is to free them from the clutches of that enemy. Even though, it’s sometimes very difficult, we have to refuse to see the people who are under Satan’s control as our enemy. If we fight them and defeat them, we haven’t accomplished anything. It’s only when we fight against Satan and free them that we have accomplished our mission.
B. Our fight is a Spiritual fight, not a physical fight.
Often, in our culture that really denies the supernatural, we are tempted to look for a physical solution to everything. Education especially gets a lot of attention. It seems that no matter what the problem, AIDS, gun violence, domestic violence, rape, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, or anything else, the solution, in the mind of our culture, always involves more education. We also like to throw a lot of money and resources at our problems. We think that if a problem gets enough funding it will go away.
In a culture like that, it’s easy for the church to begin to fall into a mentality that there is a physical solution for every problem. When I think of this, I often think of the story told in