Summary: We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) and knowing his character, strategy, and tactics equips us for victory.
THE ART OF WAR (PART 2)
Sermon Objective: We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11) and knowing his character, strategy, and tactics equips us for victory.
Supporting Scripture: Genesis 3:13-15; Psalm 41:11, Psalm 103:9-12; John 10:10; John 8:44; Romans 8:31-39; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:10-18; Colossians 2:15; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; I John 3:7-8; 1 John 5:4
On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) was adopted, having been ratified by three-fourths of the United States. Included within these was the second amendment. It reads as follows: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The idea of an unhindered well-regulated militia was very important to Alexander Hamilton. In the Federalists papers (no. 29) he says, “A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it.”
As we return this week to Revelation 12’s exposé of our enemy the idea of a well-practiced and well-regulated militia seems appropriate. You see, the reason Satan’s character, motivations, strategies and tactics are exposed here is because he is a real and present danger and the spiritual warfare that we engage in is not to be taken lightly. The heart this chapter is verses 9-12 and verse 12 really drives him this point. “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
Last week I introduced you to Sun Tzu’s book, “The Art of War.” This book, as you may recall was written about 3,000 years ago, consists of 13 small chapters that give principles of warfare, and is still studied and utilized for its military tactics today. One of the principles that Sun Tzu addresses time and again is, “If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.” And that is one of the reasons God has exposed the enemy’s schemes for us … so that Satan might not outwit us. As 2 Cor. 2:11 tells is we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. Rev. 12, which is right in the middle of John’s apocalypse, is dedicated to this task.
Last week we looked at two elements that go far in helping us understand our enemy. You can find this sermon on the website so I will not review it, I will only list them for you.
1. Our enemy is a real entity not a mere “symbol of evil.”
2. If our enemy cannot “capture” us – then he will try to paralyze / neutralize us through guilt and self-accusation; neither of which are God’s way of motivating His church (v. 12.)
May I quote Sun Tzu again? “Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.”
He also said, “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”
Our enemy would love for us to be naïve and uninformed. But God has made sure this is not the case.
Let’s take some time to identify some specific character traits, motivations, and tactics of our enemy, the Devil. By doing so, we will be armed (equipped) to engage in the spiritual battle that we must inevitably fight.
Sadly, some seem to think there is no war and there is no threat. Our enemy loves this! Sun Tzu said, “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”
1. Our enemy is real
2. Our enemy seeks to neutralize us
3. OUR ENEMY IS DETERMINED TO LEAD THE WORLD ASTRAY (V. 9)
We must never forget that our enemy is a “hater.” Everything within our text validates this. Satan hates anything and everything that is in relation to God. Humankind, not just followers of the lamb, is his focal point.
9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
In John 8:44 Jesus said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Sun Tzu said, “Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.”