Summary: Satan has been perfecting his methods for years, and all of his followers have learned right along with him. He is also willing to work for years in a person’s life to make sure his strategies are set up perfectly. Once the traps are set up, they will close on you
The Bible says you are involved a war, but it is a spiritual war. This warfare affects every area of your life and every individual in your life. Christianity sees the world as a battleground where you have human good and human evil on one level but you also have supernatural good and supernatural evil on another level.
Keep your Bibles open to Ephesians 6 with me (page 1163 in your pew Bibles). As you are turning, please know that we are so glad you are joining us for worship today. These are discouraging days but we want you to sense the hope that comes from Jesus Christ on the Throne. You’re not alone and you are loved.
Spiritual warfare is the mother of all wars! There is not one boy, one girl, one man or woman who can extricate themselves from this battle of the ages. There’s no place to run and there’s no place to hide. There is no bunker or foxhole that you can get into that will alleviate you from the repercussions of this battle. This battle is called spiritual warfare and let me show you the gravity of it.
Paul was in prison when he wrote Ephesians and he’s likely seeing a Roman soldier as his prison guard nearly all day long as he’s in captivity.
The image of the Roman soldier leads Paul to write, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
But spiritual warfare is also a personal fight. Would you hold up two fingers with me for a moment? I won’t ask you to do it long but I do ask you to make the “peace sign” with me? The two you’re holding up reminds us of life’s two battles. We were born at war with God because we are born in sin. But when we lay down our arms at the cross of Jesus Christ in unconditional surrender, God declares peace with us. When God declares peace WITH us, the devil declares war ON us and we must be permanently at our battle stations from earth to heaven.
One of the most successful human beings to ever walk the earth said this at the end of his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Many think those were Paul’s last words on his deathbed so to speak. Here is one of the most successful Christians of all time and he lies on his deathbed telling us life is a fight. At the conclusion of his most successful life, he refers to life as a fight. Life is a battle between light and darkness, between death and life, between heaven and hell, and every Christian is called to be a part of it.
This morning I want you to put on the belt of truth with me. One of the great weapons of warfare is the truth and nothing both the truth. Satan has a scheme to drag you from the truth.
Let me show you two levels of strategy in God’s Word today.
1. Assess the Enemy
1.1 Satan Loves Deception
Satan, of course, has been living for several zillion years, and Satan has been perfecting his methods and his strategies. He has none of the “omni’s” that God has; he’s limited in his capacity. No, he’s not God’s equal but you’re not his equal either. Don’t underestimate the evil one.
Satan has been perfecting his methods for years, and all of his followers have learned right along with him. He is also willing to work for years in a person’s life to make sure his strategies are set up perfectly. Once the traps are set up, they will close on you. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Satan will spring a trap on you in a matter of seconds but the trap itself may have been decades or centuries in the planning. He is patiently and carefully deceptive.
The very word devil means deceiver. Satan loves!, loves!, loves! to deceive. Remember what Jesus told us about the devil: “When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44b). Satan uses deception in order to accomplish his agenda of bringing the world under his influence and control. He loves to make something look acceptable but in reality, you’ve been deceived. He loves to work in such a way where you don’t see his handiwork. He dresses in camouflage and he will work from the shadows. When he has done his work, you will often be deceived into thinking you are only “wrestl[ing] against flesh and blood.”