Perspectives on Spiritual, Intellectual and Pastoral Issues: Host – Lowell Qualls

Spiritual Warfare is Real

Spiritual warfare is Real!

Many people might say that we are surrounded by a world that operates on cold, hard facts.  A physical world with laws like Newton’s law of gravity and his three laws of motion, the law of supply and demand, ocean tides, Earth’s orbit around the sun, the laws of physics, the laws of mathematics, and so on. The world we live in is a beautiful place, and it continues because certain facts are always in play.

The spiritual side of life seems so unreal in this age of megabytes, cellular phones, and Zoom meetings.

Yet the spiritual, immaterial side of life is every bit as real as the physical, material side.  The invisible and its existence is very much a reality.

Paul was concluding his letter to the Ephesian church (vss. 10-18) when he wrote the following:

10 A final word:  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Paul was warning the First Century Church and you and me that we have a real enemy.  He’s absolutely out to kill your faith in God.  He is a dirty fighter, using deception, lying, stealing, killing, lawlessness, lust … anything he can to pull you down and pull you away from Jesus!  Paul referred to our enemy’s weaponry as “the strategies of the devil.”  Frontal attacks, blindside attacks, attacks from the rear … All REAL!  And deadly in every sense of the word.

Paul was saying that we meet this foe – the devil – on spiritual battlefields.  He calls Satan’s army “mighty powers of this dark world.  This fight is no mini-series … this fight has been going on since Satan fell like lightening to this planet, along with all his other rebellious angels.

Paul never mentions the word “fear”.  Doesn’t that seem strange to you?  I thought it was cool … Paul didn’t need to mention it because we’re on the winning side of this war.

C. S. Lewis, one of my favorite people who ever lived, wrote a book called “Mere Christianity.”  I’d like to read some portions to you because he so accurately and powerfully describes this war and our enemy.  He was an atheist who finally read the New Testament and it changed his life.

(Page 50) “One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe – a mighty spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin.”

(Page 51). “Enemy-occupied territory – that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.  … I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day (this modern age), to reintroduce our old friend the devil – hoofs and horns and all.  … My answer is, ‘Yes, I do.’”

“Christians believe that an evil power has made himself for the present the Prince of this World.”

(Page 53)  “The sin of Satan, and the sin that he taught the human race [was elevating SELF … wanting to be God.] … Some people think the fall of Adam had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake.  What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’ – be their own masters – and invent some sort of happiness outside God, apart from God.   And out of that hopeless attempt [to find happiness apart from God] has come nearly all of what we call human history – money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery – the long terrible story of Man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Wow!  I think C. S. Lewis did a pretty good job of describing Satan and his ultimate aim – to separate us from the God who loves us and created us, and have us worship him as lord.

In our text Paul used some imagery to help us visualize what we need to be victorious in this war and warfare.

(I GAVE THIS MODEL OF ROMAN BATTLE PROTECTION TO BECKY SOME CHRISTMASES AGO, AND I WANT YOU TO SEE IT SO THAT YOU CAN PICTURE THE ARMOR OF GOD.)

You and I must have every element of the Armor of God.

1.  FIRST, The Belt of Truth

14 “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth…” 

If you don’t know the Truth, you’ll be toast in no time … and Jesus said it best.  “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father but by Me.”   (John 14:6). You need to know Him, not just know about Him.  The devil can tell the Christmas story and can describe the events of Easter.   The demons shudder when they hear the Truth.  You need more than just the facts about Jesus.  You need to know and love and follow Jesus … IN RELATIONSHIP.

Satan would love for you to “get religion,” but he does not want you to get relationship.

If you don’t know the Truth that sets you free, and the Truth that disarms the devil’s lies, you’ll be easily fooled into believing that God’s way is too difficult to live, too restrictive and boring, too weird, anti-fun, or too hard to understand.

You and I need the belt of Truth.

2.  SECOND, The Breastplate of Righteous

14b the body armor of God’s righteousness

Righteousness is “uprightness.”  Righteousness is “right standing with God.”  Righteousness is “virtue and morality.”  Righteousness is “genuine.”

You can’t fight the devil if your body armor is full of holes.

3.  THIRD, The Shoes of Peace

15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  

In order to stand your ground when the enemy attacks you, your footwear is important.  You’ll stand your ground when the peace of God that comes from believing the Gospel is strapped on.

4.  FOURTH, The Shield of Faith

16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  

In addition to all of these” can be translated “Above all …”

Self-confidence is a killer.  Self-confidence in spiritual battles is fatal.  You are not smart enough or powerful enough in your SELF to deal with the attacks of the devil. Your confidence needs to be in God.  Your faith and trust must be in God.  

Put another way, you and I aren’t quick enough to avoid the fiery arrows of the devil.  Our faith will deflect and stop those missiles!  The Lord will guard our minds and strengthen our faith in Him.

5.  FIFTH, The Helmut of Salvation

17 Put on salvation as your helmet, 

Salvation … the reason Jesus went to the Cross … “to save His people from their sins …”.  Salvation is what you put on your head! Knowing you are redeemed by the blood of Jesus will keep your head protected!

Have you ever heard the enemy whisper or shout, “You’re not good enough.  You can’t be a Christian, your life is so messed up.  You keep sinning, etc.”  Maybe the enemy doesn’t have to shout it.  Maybe that’s what you think.

Welcome to the WAR!  Satan wants to get inside your head.  The primary spiritual battlefield is the mind, and the devil wants to destroy your assurance of salvation by convincing you that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough, or you’re not good enough.  Whatever.

This would be a good time to pick up …

4.  SIXTH, The SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

17B …and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Every bit of armor you have put on up to now is defensive in nature.

The Sword of the Spirit is the only OFFENSIVE WEAPON in your arsenal.  And it’s the only one you need.

Paul says that this Sword is really “the Word of God.”

When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness how did the Son of God defeat His enemy?  He used the Word of God.

During the first two temptations Jesus said, “The Scriptures say …”.  “The Scriptures say …”

Then Satan got way ahead of himself and began his third temptation by saying, “The Scriptures say…”. Yes, that’s right.  Satan knows the Scriptures, too.

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures ALSO SAY …”

VICTORY!  When you know and believe God’s Word you can take the fight to the devil.  You don’t have to back peddle or stammer or cower in fear.  You can attack!

If Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit, and Paul says you need to “take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” I would say you’re not FULLY prepared for spiritual warfare unless it is in your hand and in your heart.

Jesus quoted it.  He knew it.  He used it.  And so can you.

A good time and place to start sharpening your Sword would be today, by memorizing our text, Ephesians 6:10-18.  You can do it!!

AS PAUL WAS WINDING DOWN HIS MESSAGE ABOUT ARMOR AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE HE ADDED …

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.  Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Over the years I’ve been told, and maybe you’ve heard, that each Christ follower needs FOUR disciplines … FOUR tools to keep the Armor in good shape.

They are:

  1. Personal Prayer
  2. Worship
  3. Bible study
  4. Fellowship

Try your best to put these disciplines into practice.  They will save your life, impact your world, and cause Satan indigestion.

Comments on: "Spiritual Warfare is Real" (1)

  1. Jerry Qualls said:

    Excellent!!. You have a wonderful way with words. Great message. I was in the midst of going over my sermon when I saw your email. It pulled me away for about 10 minutes. It was worth it.

    On Sat, Feb 13, 2021 at 8:34 PM EPIC Perspectives wrote:

    > Lowell Qualls posted: ” Spiritual warfare is Real! Many people might say > that we are surrounded by a world that operates on cold, hard facts. A > physical world with laws like Newton’s law of gravity and his three laws of > motion, the law of supply and demand, ocean tides, Ear” >

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