Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When The Enemy Attacks


When The Enemy Attacks
What God Says…

Reading of God’s Word
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.                                                                                      Eph 6:10-20

Let’s Pray
Father on days like today, your message to us, can seem out of touch to where we are in everday life. Would you bring it straight into the living rooms of our hearts and mind. Spiritual realities that your word touches are realities that touch us. Help us to identify spiritual realities and when the enemy of our soul attacks us and strengthen us by your word today, in jesus  Name, Amen

Warm up
You may be seated.  If you need a bible please raise your hand and we’ll get one to you. I have some notes for you to use if you want to follow along.

Introduction
In Ephesians chapter 6 we come across the apostle Paul’s final encouragement to the people of Ephesus.  From chapter 4 on he urged them to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which they have been called.” That is they are to live their life… to conduct their behavior in a manner worthy of their calling. The  saints of Ephesians were called by God’s good pleasure to himself through the gospel’s power and invitation. Dead in their sins he made them alive through faith in Christ. He offered them the gift of grace, salvation of their sins and the judgment wrath of God. With that gift of grace came adoption into the family of God with its privileges and protection and blessings from the Father.          Through chapter 4 and 5 he’s telling them to not walk like unbelieving Gentiles and to be imitators of God. He’s telling them to be careful how to walk and he give specific instructions to wives husbands, slave and masters and children.\
            Coming into this paragraph Apostle Paul pens the Words of God “Finally be strong in the Lord and the power of his might.” (v 10 )   and then he goes into  a major section of Scripture that is the foundation of the teaching of Spiritual Warfare. This passage coupled with

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”                         James 4:7
And    

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9



These three passages are the call to arms and the cornerstone of the teaching of spiritual warfare.

Many Christians who have heard of topic of Spiritual Warfare may feel that only certain Christian circles are “into that” aspect of the Christian life. This Shouldn’t be.
Some may feel that spiritual warfare sound to much like Science Fiction.  It’s out there, too fantasy orientated to be true I want to expose 3 barriers to believing in spiritual warfare.

1. The Naturalistic Worldview- “the only reality is that which can be seen, touched or heard”
·         This barrier denies the existence of a spiritual or invisible realm.
·         Ex. Rudolf Bultman a German New Testament scholar, “argues that angels and demons are myths and that the New Testament message had to be demythologized by removing such mythological elements so that the gospel could be received by modern scientific people.
·         This viewpoint points to modern medical and pyschological discoveries as explanations for what used to be paranormal
2. The Technology Advances
            For as wonderful as technology is, as mankind advances in its imagination and ingenuity, it takes us further away from the invisible aspects of our known world.
3. The Biblical Illiterate
·         This barrier basically exists because many people don’t read their entire Bible.
·         Some people read the Bible alacarte mode  a little Psalms, Maybe a Proverbs. A strong helping of Paul’s letter which we’re so familiar with we don’t pay attention to what he says any more.
·         The Biblical Illiterate also is one who reads the Bible but doesn’t study it properly and gets lost in understanding how to interpret certain passages of Scripture.
So when they get to the parts that use figurative language, they don’t know if it’s a symbol or a spiritual reality.
These are the main barriers people have, there are several more we could consider but I don’t wish to address everyone of them in this time.  What I rather do is explain why spiritual warfare is a spiritual reality.  Within your notes…


I.  Spiritual Warfare is a Spiritual Reality

1.   Because it’s based on Scriptural Accounts
            The Bible gives us a true account  of the world as it really is.
·         History accounts in the bible are true.
·         The description of mankind behavior is accurate.
·         The Bible touches on all the Other Sciences in the world- those Sciences that are observable, demonstratable and repeatable. And it is correct.

Since this is true we must take seriously the biblical accounts of demonic and angelic involvement in human society.  Theologian Wayne Grudem says: “Our failure to perceive that involvement with our five senses simply tells us we have deficiencies in our ability to understand the world, not that demons do not exist.”

            The Bible has many Scriptural Accounts of Spiritual activity and involvement. Let’s look at a few
a. The Fall of Man
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"” (Gen 3:1)
·         Satan was in the form of a serpent here.
b. The Trial of Job
“So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.” (Job 2:7)
c. During the Ministry of Jesus.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.” (Matt 4:1)
“The people were all so amazed that they asked each other… He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."” (Mark 1:27)
d. During the Early Church
“Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.” (Acts 5:16)
e. Other accounts include
·         Eliphaz encounter with a spirit (Job 4:12-15)
·         King Saul tormented by an evil spirit (1 Sam. 6:23)
·         Pagan worship accounted for worship to demons (Psalm106:35-37)
·         Angelic ministers and messengers (Heb 1:14; 2 Kings 6:14-17)
So we see Scriptural Accounts of activity in the invisible realm from spirits that harass, tempt and even minister(as in the case of angels from the Lord.)
So SW is a SR because of Scriptural accounts. #2  SW is a SR
2.   Because it’s based on Satan’s Actions
When we consider the origin of Satan, we recall that Satan wanted to be like God.
Look at the 5 I will’s: in Isa 14:12-15

"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. Isa 14:12-15

·         I will ascend to heaven;
·         I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
·         I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
·         I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
·          I will make myself like the Most High."
Satan tempted Jesus to worship Him.
It is so important for a believer to live His life for the glory of God and not the self. If Satan can get us to live a life of mediocrity that we don’t reflect the glory of God, than he has accomplished his purpose.
            If we are preoccupied with self rights… self wants… self desires their no room for God.
            Life is not about you, It’s about God and His Glory!
As a believer in Christ think about it for a second     We are special objects of Satan’s attacks for
Because we are God’s Children
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.” Rom. 8:16
·         He attacks the child to get to the parent
·         Part of being a child is Being made in God’s image with the potential of sharing in God’s glory!

“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Rom 8:30
·         That is the destiny of a believer.
·         Satan COVETED such a position and now his jealousy over our having it is directed at us!

Preach:
So be aware of a conspiracy to sabatoge your QT- Satan doesn’t want you to pray! Satan doesn’t want us to pray as a Church either. Be aware of the consistent barrage of temptation that zone in on your weaknesses Satan doesn’t want you to have victory, He doesn’t want you to grow. He wants you to get hung up on the same theological arguments and to sit in stagnant waters and to struggle.
Be aware of complacency in our evangelism and out reach- Satan doesn’t want our church to grow. He is moving around like a roaring lion.  Look at Satan’s actions, he is still fighting, and that is a spiritual reality in itself!
But #3


Why is Spiritual Warfare a spiritual reality…
3.   Because it’s based on the Savior’s Affirmation
As noted before, All throughout Jesus time on earth, spiritual conflicts with demonic forces were a regular part of Jesus’ ministry.
I could have easily said that Spiritual Warfare is based on the Savior’s Action.  Over and over again, Jesus won.  But what we as New Covenant Believer’s need to look at in dealing with the warfare around us, is not at what Jesus did, but what Jesus said. Here are some examples

a. The Savior affirms the spiritual struggle.
·         the struggle in evangelism
“Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” Luke 8:12
·         the struggle for truth that sets people free
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Matt. 8:44
            So we see that Jesus affirms there is a battle

No. 4 Why is S. W. a S reality?
4.   Because It’s Based on The Saints Acknowledgments.
There are three  acknowledgments that the New Testament  Apostles saw about Spiritual activity.
a.     They acknowledged the fight
They saw their enemy
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12

b.     They acknowledged their authority
 The authority of a believer not only is found in the phrase In Jesus Name, but it is also found in our position in Christ.             Notice this:
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know… his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength… far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”                                                                                                                           Eph 1:18,19,21
·         Your position in Christ is everything. It is because of this position in Christ we see Peter and James say resist the devil.  We see Paul encouraging other believers to fight the good fight of faith. 

c.      They acknowledged their victory.
“This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:4,5

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” 1 John 4:4

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Col 2:15

Stool example: So here stand the foundation that Spiritual warfare is a spiritual reality : four things to stand on, Scriptures account of it, Satans action toward us, The Savior’s affirmation and Saints acknowledgement.
Now
So we need to realize that Spiritual Warfare is a Spiritual Reality. So in talking about when the enemy attacks we need to be aware of how he attacks let’s look into that, within your notes…

II. How the Enemy Attacks
1. Mental Deceptions
            Our Enemy the Devil, is unable to read our minds. He can however try to deceive our minds. He can plant ideas that are deceptive and can destroy our faith.  When the devil attacks through mental deceptions, he wants us to believe in something that is untrue. He wants to deceive us.  He wants to argue the truth we hold to be true. Paul says in 2 Corinthians:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”                             2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV)
     The enemy wants to destroy our faith and he starts with our minds.
He will attack us mentally in three ways:
1. He’ll bring up doubts.
            To doubt means to not believe what is true.  You may know the truth!  But doubts come up:
It’s not unchristian like to have doubts.  The truth is God is so big, he can handle your questions and doubts and still prove His goodness, love and everpresent sovereignity in your life.
2. He’ll bring up fears.
            While there is a healthy fear we have in this life, the enemy uses fear to attack us. He wants to prevent us from living life delighting in God and His holiness. Fear mesmerizes our ability to move forward causing us to not take any action because of risks
3. He’ll condemn you.
            Satan himself is called in the Bible “the accuser of the brethren” One of Satan’s favorite lies are about you!  You see, the reason, the enemy attacks is because it’s personal!  He HATES you. He hates me. God made mankind very different than every other created being, angels included. He made us in God’s image.  So what he does is try to get us to live under a cloud of condemnation and accusation. He will render you useless by accusing and getting you on guilt trips and the like.
 As a point of Application  I have a question for you to answer:
Which one of these do you struggle with?    
2. Moral Temptations
“For the world offers only lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see and pride in our possessions. These are not from our Father they are from the evil world.”                        1 John 2:16
There are three basic temptations that are mentioned here. The enemy attacks us through:

Lust for physical pleasure: Deadly Desires
            The world appeals to the natural desires of people and invites us to satisfy them in sinful ways. Ways to F.E.E.L. good like: Forbidden sexual passions. Eating disorders. Extreme gorging to fill up empty spots in life. Lazy lifestyles. We are friends with the world when we look to it instead of depending on God, to satisfy our needs and desires.
Lust for everything we see: Worldly Wants
            The world attracts us to values and wants that are contrary to God's Word. W.A.N.T.S. like: Wine and alcohol drunkenness. Applause and awards. Narcissism and self trust. Temporal and material pursuits. Sensual and erotic desires. We are friends with the world when we focus our life's purpose on these temporal wants instead of God's eternal purposes.
Pride of Possessions: Seeking Self
            The world announces its independence and seeks to be idolized. It seeks S.E.L.F. in the following ways: Success and security without God. Exaltation and promotion of self. Live for nothing greater than self. Forsake any help or close friendships. We are friends with the world when we are more concerned with our greatness and acknowledgment than the Lord's.
Application Question
What is your habitual sin?       [which of these do you struggle with?]

3. Momentary  Distractions
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”                                                                                             1 Peter 4:12-13
            The enemy will attack us with Momentary Distractions that will is designed to take our perception about life and focus it on the here and now.  The three most common ones are

 

Financial worries

            This is one of the most used dart of the enemy in attacking us.  Nothing will distract us more than financial upheaval. Finances in this life, represent our security and peace of mind.  It can also represent a blessing.  The bottom line is, the devil doesn’t want you to use  your money on kingdom advancement so he gets you trapped into the cycle of either getting you worried or buried in your financial issues.

Friendship Divisions.
When friendships go south, this distraction not only hinders our growth as a person, because of a relationship hurt, but can also hinder our spiritual growth.
When friendships become strained and stressed long term bitterness can begin to set in. Any time the enemy can get unforgiveness, bitterness and hurt to preside over your heart, they know that long term weakness sets in and in the future will use this weakness to gain footholds in people’s life.
            Divisions disrupt the work of God in churches and when such individual attacks spread like wild fire, the enemy’s effective attack multiples.
 
Fight in Life
We all have aspects of our life that is part of the “Human Misery and Suffering” benefits of the world we live in.  These are the trials and problems that occur in our life. The enemy will over emphasize the problems to get us to be ineffective. God helps us overcome the problems so that we might give glory to Him.

Application Question
What distracts you from delighting in God and enjoying Him?

4. Mortal Limitations
We see such an account of Satan being allowed to attacking Job physically. Turn to Job.
Job 2:3-8
 And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason." Then Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face." And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life."
                So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.                                                                                                   Job 2:3-8
           
I want to identify three ways the enemy may come against us physically.
Physical Disabilities
            Realize I have a lot of experience with this.  The enemy will seek to discourage us and cause us to live the life of a victim instead of an overcomer.  Many people will define their day based on their pain and how they feel. Many of our prayer requests come from the physical condition of our life and it is to be a proper prayer request.  But the driving force in our lives shouldn’t be our comfort or pain.  The enemy is all too aware of our mortal limitations and will seek magnify them in our lives.  As a result, many people magnify their disabilities instead of the grace of God that he gives them to handle them.

Genetic Dispositions
            Out-of-balance biochemistry can cause panic attacks, paranoia, severe headaches, confused thoughts, and depression. Often what feels “oppressive”, can be traced to hormonal imbalance; mineral, vitamin, or amino acid deficiencies; or allergic reactions. If symptoms persist, and authoritative prayer doesn’t bring relief, something is out of whack. Many who suspect a spiritual oppression, might instead suffered from such ailments as manic depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and reaction to allergens
There is a proper place for these genetic dispositions to be treated on a professional medical and counseling level.    With that,  the enemy will seek to expose and attack our lives by having us think every imbalance is a demon and every oppression is the devil.       While we need to cover such things with authoritative prayer we need to maintain and grow a trust in God’s sovereign control in our lives. To trust that God is more in control of our lives than Satan.

Temporary Diseases
From the flu to cancer, everything we experience this side of eternity is temporary. What ever the enemy may throw our way, or whatever comes as a result of a fallen world the fact is that God wants us to rely on him.  The enemy will attack to discourage, we need to embrace the first value of our church

The first value we have as a church is that The Triune God is supreme and sovereign over all things, working everything for His own glory. That value means that we believe, profess, embrace and live out a trusting lifestyle that God is in control and has all power and ability to do his holy will and to work in our lives everything for His glory to be shown and His Being to be worshipped.   In spiritual warfare, we shouldn’t be looking for demonic oppression or be obsessed with the devil as to glorify his attacks--- or what we think are his attacks--- to the diminishing of the Sovereignty of God. The enemy wants to steal the special grace of God you can experience with His presence being filled with peace, comfort and rest, spiritually, even in the midst of mixed emotions. And physical weakness  Cover yourselves in prayer within this aspect.

Application question
What physical problems do you need God’s grace or healing for?

When the enemy attacks we need to realize that Spiritual Warfare is a Spiritual Reality
When the enemy attacks we need to know how he attacks, and he attacks through mental deceptions, moral temptations, momentary distraction, and mortal limitations
In closing. I want to encourage you to be alert, and to know when you are being attacked.
III. When the Enemy Attacks
When the enemy attacks your mind, put your faith in God’s truth. (Psalm 119:105)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”                             Ps 119:105
  • Some battles we face are truth encounters, where we speak the truth or renew the truth of God’s word in our life. It is these battles where we cling to the promise “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”            Is it a doctrine you doubt? Or a teaching you don’t like? Is it a lie from the enemy about yourself? Put your faith in God’s word.

When the enemy attacks your character, put your faith in God’s Spirit. (Galatians 5:16)
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Gal 5:16-17
  • Sometime we have battles to keep our character pure. We must not walk or play with temptation. We need to avoid People who lead us to sin, Locations where we are tempted or shouldn’t be, Activities that are questionable or tempting, or Your thoughts that are tempting or wander

When the enemy attacks your attitude, put your faith in God’s sovereignty. (Romans 8:28)
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”                                                                                                   Rom 8:28-29
  • Maybe the battle you face is a personal attitude that has resulted in sowing bad habits into you life. Bad habits like, neglecting your obedience to God’s instruction or a decision that wasn’t the wisest. It’s a situation you can reclaim, but it starts with submitting to God’s control and word in your life.

When the enemy attacks your physical body, put your faith in God’s strength.
Jesus says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”     2 Corinthians 12:9


Watch this now…
For when we put our trust in God’s truth, we are renewing our minds.
When we trust in God’s spirit, we are resisting temptation.
When we trust in God’s sovereignty we are resetting our perspective.
When we trust in God’s strength we remember who our healer is!

Praise God that He and his glory will be victorious. Let’s pray
Victorious Father, You have secured the battle for us to fight the enemy from the position of victory. Our position is found to be in freedom and righteousness through Christ. God, please make us aware of when the devil comes around and harasses us. Help us not to engage our problems and battles from a worldly naturalistic viewpoint, rather, let our warfare be of great glory and of great testimony to your powerful hand, to your eternal purposes and your righteousness. Make us sensitive to the spiritual realm around us, specifically, not the war around us, but your prsence and glory, in Jesus Name Amen






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