Summary: An examinination of the three enemies believers fight against and tools to overcome them.
THE ENEMIES WE FIGHT
A couple of weeks ago, a friend told me he had watched a TV show, where some Catholic priests had performed an exorcism. He asked me if we Protestants believed in demons and if we did, why you didn’t hear more about Protestants performing exorcisms? We talked about it some then.
The short answer to his question is, “Yes, I believe in the Devil. I believe in demons and we have to fight them and their boss.” There is, however, another reality I would like address, which that conversation led me to think about. Perhaps on another occasion I will break this sermon into sections and address each part, including the Devil and demons separately. This morning, however, I would like to think about all of the enemies believers face and how we have victory over them.
I believe the Bible that believers fight against 3 separate enemies, the flesh, the world, and the Devil and his servants the demons; but most of us never have to battle demons and the Devil, the last of our 3 enemies, directly, because we are already defeated by the other 2. In other words, the enemy isn’t going to waste his resources and send tanks against us if his infantry or artillery has already whipped us.
This morning I would like to look briefly at each of the enemies that come against us and at how to defeat them. I believe the first enemy the Bible teaches we must face is our flesh or our own sinful nature.
I. WE FIGHT AGAINST THE FLESH
- Our own sinful nature
Paul admitted that he fought against the flesh himself. He fought against the sin nature he had within him, all the time.
“The Minnesota Crime Commission recognizes the power of the sinful nature and admits the truth that every person, if left to himself, will be overcome by the power of the flesh. A few years ago they released this statement. ‘Every baby starts life as a [potential] savage. He is completely selfish, and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toys, his uncles’ watch. Deny him these once, and he could go into a rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He is, in fact, dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no skills. This means that all children – not just certain children – are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy, given free reign to his impulsive actions, to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up a criminal…’ (from sermon Victoriously Living Over the Flesh by Terry Laughlin, SC.com).
Billy Graham describes the flesh as, “the old patterns by which we have attempted to get all our needs supplied instead of seeking Christ first and trusting Him to meet all of our needs.”
The flesh is that thing within each of us that desires either to do what is wrong, or to achieve right things by wrong means. The flesh is temper used to get our way. The flesh is good things; like sex, or work, or eating, or saving, or accumulating, or ministry, or giving, even anger, or whatever; either taken to extremes, done in ungodly ways, or used in an attempt to find a peace, recognition, contentment or joy that can only be found in Jesus. It is an attempt to use physical things to satisfy spiritual needs.
Many of us seldom have to battle the other two enemies who come against us, because we have already allowed the flesh to defeat us.
How do you fight this enemy? How to have victory over the flesh?
YOU DEFEAT THIS ENEMY BY:
> Galatians 5:16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
> Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
You defeat the flesh by walking in the Spirit and following the Spirit. I believe that means:
1. You quit excusing sin
When the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, you quit making excuses for what you’re doing. You don’t blame other people. You say you were speeding because everyone else was speeding. You don’t excuse over-spending and excessive debt and your covetousness by saying that everyone else has that or does that. You quit making excuses for sin.
2. You exercise the spiritual disciplines
a. Bible study –
It has been said that either your Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from your Bible. David said it like this:
> Psalm 119:11 I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.