Summary: This sermon is designed to introduce the audience to the reality of spiritual warfare and equip them to be prepared for it.
THE REALITY OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
War is a fact of life -- the US has been involved in many different conflicts including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars 1 and 2, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and literally hundreds of other conflicts throughout our history as a nation. Some of you have fought for your country in this way and know war firsthand. Those who are engaged in military conflict have no doubt who their enemies are, have a plan to defeat them, and are trained to do battle.
But there is another battle being waged all around us in the spiritual realm. Unfortunately, those engaged in spiritual warfare most often do not know who their enemies are, have no plan for victory, and have little, if any, training. There has been a war going on since before the fall of Satan that many are not even aware of, and I want to begin changing that today.
Paul gives us this instruction about spiritual warfare that we need to take to heart.
A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. 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. Ephesians 6:10-12
5 BASIC TRUTHS:
These five basics truths are simply an introduction to what we will be learning together over this month about spiritual warfare. I want to spend this time today because I doubt that most of you have ever had any teaching in this area, and we really need to start with the fundamentals.
1. There Is An Invisible World That Is Just As Real As The Visible World
I think even those of us who are the most conservative believers tend to accept as reality only those things that we can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste. The Bible sitting at my desk is real, the clothes on my back are real, and the roast in the oven is real. I know that they are real, because I can experience them with the senses God has given me. But when we begin to talk about that which is invisible, those things that cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted, we tend to think that those things are not real, or somehow at a lesser level of reality than the visible world. Nothing could be further from the truth:
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. Ephesians 6:12
While we exist in this present visible world, we also exist simultaneously in the unseen world that Paul describes here. The unseen world is described as the place where evil beings exist, but it is also the place Christ, and all believers exist.
God...has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ. Ephesians 1:3b
This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms Ephesians 1:19b-20
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms all because we are one with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6
Beyond this world of our senses is the unseen world where all that is of a spiritual nature dwells -- both good and evil -- and it is in this invisible world that spiritual warfare takes place -- it is in this unseen world that we fight against the principalities and powers that seek to do us harm.
2. We Are Involved In An Invisible War, A Cosmic Conflict That Has Eternal Implications
The Bible tells us that once Daniel had been praying to God and not receiving an answer to his prayer -- an angel came to him and explained the delay in terms of spiritual warfare:
Then he said, "Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Daniel 10:12-13
There is much here we do not understand, but what is very obvious is that a spiritual war was taking place between these spirits and angels. This reveals that in the world which is unseen by us there is a conflict going on, a conflict of the ages between good and evil, light and darkness, God and Satan. It reveals that there are satanic forces and heavenly forces. And it reveals that we are smack dab in the middle of the whole thing.