Summary: We are engaged in spiritual conflict and need to be aware of resources available to us to enable us to be victorious.
The Invisible War
I DON’T HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT WE ARE AT WAR IN AMERICA! It’s a dirty war–in some ways, worse than the one we are waging against terrorism. It’s being fought right here on our soil as well as in many other nations. It’s a war for the minds and hearts of people–between the forces of good and evil, between God and Satan.
The stakes in this war are high because the price is heaven or hell, life or death, darkness or light, freedom or slavery, reward of punishment.
Recently National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk. There is a lesson here for us. Spiritual battles await. Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious, or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now--before the wars begin. The bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they’re needed.
One thing is certain. We cannot afford to be ignorant of this invisible war because it is waged right here and now! The enemy of our souls wants to gain control of our hearts and minds. Look at verse 12 of our text. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers. Barna Research Group, Ltd., of Oxnard, California conducted a poll in which they discovered the following. Nearly two out of three American adults (62%) agreed that Satan is not a living being but a symbol of evil. And even more alarming is that among evangelical Christians, 52% deny Satan’s existence! 72% of Catholics say the devil is non-existent. Conclusion: One of the major battlefields is taking place within the Church!
This warfare can be summarized by looking at four things: (1) Our Adversary, (2) Our Armor, (3) Our Allies, (4) Our Plan of Attack.
I. Our Adversary
A. His Many Aliases
5. Prince of this world
6. Prince of demons
8. Father of lies
10. Angel of light
11. Accuser of the brethren
B. His Power
1. A fallen angel (highly intelligent)
2. Power over kingdoms of the world
3. Power to afflict people w/sickness
4. Able to sift the saints
5. Limited power–not equal with God, a created being
C. His Work
2. Perverts the truth
3. Opposes God’s purposes
4. Assumes many disguises
5. Hinders the Gospel
6. Creates doubt, denial and confusion
7. Blinds multitudes to the truth
8. Seeks to destroy faith
9. Seeks to discredit Christ
10. Makes sin attractive
11. Tries to break up families
12. Tries to give the world another gospel (humanism, moralism, universalism, ritualism, evolution)
13. Seeks to discredit the Church
D. His Angels (Fallen)
1. Some are free to roam the earth, fulfilling Satan’s commands
2. Some are bound in darkness until the day of judgment
E. His Defeat
1. Accomplished on the cross and verified by the resurrection of Christ
2. Permitted to operate as a usurper until the time of his final imprisonment
F. His Doom
1. At the close of the millennial reign of Christ, he will be loosed for a season and then God will cast him into the lake of fire, never to return again.
II. Our Armor
The Christian will need resources for this warfare. An army does not send its soldiers into battle clad only in shorts and sneakers! Neither does God send his people naked into the world to war with its prince and his demons.
Verse 13 tells believers to put on the FULL armor–not a part of it but all of it! Its God’s armor. It comes from Him. Its spiritual in nature. You can’t buy it. It won’t be given by the government. It is received by faith. It is real. It is necessary. Why? So that when the attack comes (and it will come) we can stand our ground!
This armor is for frontal defense. If we retreat, we leave our backside exposed to the enemy and will suffer grievous wounds. James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” If there’s any running to do, let him do it while you stand in absolute victorious possession of the premises!