Summary: Paul understood that behind his critics was a sinister spirit- Satan. He challenged these rebels. He knew they were influenced by demonic forces (11:3, 13).
INTRODUCTION: We are in a war! The enemy is alive and well (well, not so well). The war is spiritual. Paul found himself in a war. The Judaizers (legalist) had followed Paul into Corinth. They had corrupted the message and challenged the messenger. This is an age old trick of the devil. He will try to destroy the truth and dupe people when and where he can. Paul understood that behind his critics was a sinister spirit- Satan. He challenged these rebels. He knew they were influenced by demonic forces (11:3, 13). In Genesis the Devil embodied the serpent. Here he embodies the Judaizers.
If you haven’t met the devil yet stick around, he’ll show up before long. When he does he has one goal – destruction. If he can’t destroy your life he will try to destroy your influence. He does so by seeking to get a strong hold (see Eph. 6:12). Learn how to wage war.
I. We need to be Aggressive (v.1-2)
Carry the fight to Him. That’s what Paul is doing here. But make sure you have the right spirit – the spirit of Christ. Look at Paul’s wording. “Meekness” = submission to God. His strength. Meekness is not weakness. “Gentleness” = outward expression of meekness. Gentleness does not mean a lack of toughness. “Boldness” = confidence.
Many Corinthians had been swept away by the Judaizers’ dynamic personalities and letters of recommendations. They had duped the people into thinking they were superior or super-spiritual compared to Paul. Paul would have none of that. He fired right back at them. Don’t ever take a back seat to a demon influenced false teacher! This is an all out war. Either get tough or be destroyed!
II. We Need to be Armed (v.3-4)
Paul wasn’t living by the world’s standards but by God’s standard. Even then he recognized he was engaged in a war. The word “war” denotes a full-fledged campaign against evil. This war is aimed at satanic forces that rise up against individuals and the church. Satan is out to divide and destroy. This war calls for divine power, divine armor (Eph. 6:10-18) and divine creativity. We battle satanic strongholds (fortress –where evil becomes entrenched). Our weapons can be summed up in three things – word of God, spirit of God, prayer to God.
III. We Need to be Aimed (v.5-6)
We aim to destroy error through the truth of God applied by the spirit of God (Eph. 4:17). Paul traces every sinful act back to a psychological origin. How does Satan get a stronghold? He does so through the mind (11:3). We’ve all heard of the battle for the bottle and the Bible. Here it’s the battle for the brain. Whoever controls your mind controls you (Rom.12:1-2). Man is a product of his thinking. Our aim is to bring into captivity every thought and make it obedient to Christ.
CONCLUSION: Put on the full armor. Champion the truth. Be strengthened by the spirit of God. Be armed with the word of God. Carry the fight to the devil. He drew “first blood” and it’s that blood by which we will defeat him. You have the king on your side. Don’t back down!