Spiritual Warfare & Delivearnce Information

Welcome to the Spiritual Warfare & Deliverace Page! We're glad you stopped by! This page is filled with various bits and pieces on Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance information. If you should find yourself in Spiritual Warfare, this is a great resource place to gain knoweldge against the enemy.  You will find various prayers that we have had stored on our system and some that we have written. We strive to bring the most effective tools against the enemy that we can provide.  In a time where the enemy is at his highest, we need to be on our game. These are some things that can help you to fight back. If you feel you need a deliverance, please email us or contact us through our website for a free case review or if you have any questions please contact us through email or our website as well! We also accept prayer requests which can be found on our prayer request center under the contact us tab.

Prayers: The Most Effective Spiritual Warfare And Deliverance Weapon And Tactic

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a [certain] man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:14-21

Much has been written in the area of spiritual warfare and deliverance. Some of it is based on scripture, some on experience, some on things taught and handed down, some on what purports to be revelation, some on conjecture, and usually the final product is some combination of these things. I do not deny that these techniques cannot yield results, because that would be denying what I have seen with my own eyes and borne witness to with my own testimony. However, “whatever works” cannot be the basis of sound Christian belief and practice. A good reason for this is simple: “results may vary!” In the scientific community, one of the major tests used to establish and verify a theory using experiments or observation is repeatable results. Since the results of the various spiritual warfare techniques, strategies and methods do in fact vary – a fact that the teachers and proponents of these methods freely admit – we cannot rely on unreliable experientialism for our Christian doctrine and practice. Instead, we must rely on the Bible. The Bible is God’s unique, Holy Spirit inspired revelation that is inerrant, infallible and the final authority in all things. So, even though the varying results is enough to justify being suspect of a lot of the spiritual warfare and deliverance teachings, the truth is that the doctrine of scripture means that Christians should not rely on practices and beliefs not supported in scripture even if they did work every time. So even if it does work, then what profit is it if the “work” is not of God and does not glorify God? The purpose of Christian living is to serve and glorify God, not to do the things that we want to do and believe that should be done ourselves. As the Bible is the final authority and is 100% infallible, then the Bible gives us perfect instructions on how to live to serve and glorify God in all areas. The Bible is what teaches us, and the Bible is what we must use to teach others.

So, based on the revelation of Jesus Christ as given to us in the Bible – and the purpose of the entirety of scripture is to reveal Jesus Christ – the best, surest way and the starting point for all spiritual warfare and deliverance is prayer. Prayer is the first and best weapon against the evil one and his forces. Consider, for instance, the Lord’s prayer.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13 and also Luke 11:2-4

How many of you knew that this was a spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer? It is. For one thing, it deals with forgiveness of sin, as it asks that our own sins be forgiven by God AND that we forgive the sins of others. Failure to forgive the sins of others, especially against us, leads to anger and resentment that Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us “gives a place to the devil.” For another, it asks that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and it is certainly God’s will for evil spirits and their influence to be bound, hindered, cast out and defeated (Matthew 12:28, Luke 11:20). But there is also a more direct reference. “Deliver us from evil” in the Lord’s prayer not only means “keep us from sin” (with all the spiritual warfare things that go along with sinning) but many expert theologians and Bible scholars follow Martin Luther in asserting that “deliver us from evil” should read “deliver us from the evil one”, which is Satan.

Now Martin Luther was not one to deny that Christians in our time need to directly confront unclean spirits. Quite the contrary, Luther claimed to have seen Satan and thrown a bottle of ink at him! (Small wonder that a current popular trend – or evil spirit – of deception moving through modern Christianity is to attack Martin Luther and claim that the Reformation, the exodus from the darkness of Roman Catholicism, was a mistake!) So, the Lord’s Prayer is quite literally and unquestionably a direct, powerful spiritual warfare and deliverance prayer. It petitions that God would overcome the presence and effects of sin and evil spirits in our lives. It even addresses the area most often neglected by spiritual warfare teachers, which is the flesh or the old man which still exerts a negative influence on born again Christians as described in Romans 5-7 when asking God to help us to forgive others, and in particular not to view the transgressions of others against us personally more prominently than we view our own transgressions against God. What stronger impulses of the flesh are there than hypocrisy and self-centeredness? And this prayer also explicitly directly asks for protection from all evil spirits through a reference to their leader, Satan. And as Jesus Christ explained in Matthew 12:24-30, being protected from Satan means being protected from all evil spirits.

However, the importance and primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is often overlooked. Instead, the commonly advised and emulated strategy is to imitate the actions of Jesus Christ and His apostles during their spectacular encounters with evil spirits, and also to mix in things learned from other teachings and our own experiences. In doing so, we ignore that the most repeated and striking thing concerning the ministry of Jesus Christ was His prayer life. His ministry began with 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness, and the gospels make it clear that seeking the will of God the Father in prayer was far more prominent in the ministry of Jesus Christ than all the sermons, exorcisms and miracles put together. To put it better, Jesus Christ came not so much to preach and perform miracles and exorcisms as He did to do the will of God the Father, and so Jesus Christ only preached, performed miracles and did exorcisms when it was the will of God the Father that He do so. When it was not the will of God the Father for Him to do so, Jesus Christ did no sermons, miracles or exorcisms, because even being God in the flesh with power and being deserving of praise and glory Himself, had Jesus Christ done those things of His own accord or on His own initiative, God the Father would not have been glorified, and Jesus Christ would have thereby sinned. (Of course, we know that Jesus Christ, being God, cannot sin.) And this was how Satan tempted Jesus Christ during His time of fast … by attempting to get Jesus Christ to take an action apart from the will and direction of God. It was the same temptation that Satan gave to Adam. Where Adam failed, Jesus Christ succeeded. And Christians are to follow Jesus Christ’s success and not Adam’s failure. Follow Adam, and man is glorified. Follow Jesus Christ and God is glorified. To God alone be the glory!

That is why spiritual warfare and deliverance must begin with and be dominated by prayer. We cannot take initiative or authority upon ourselves. We cannot presume to know, for instance, if the issue that we are addressing is motivated by evil spirits in the first place. We also cannot presume the manner and time in which God desires the evil spirit to be cast out. Further, we cannot even presume that God wants the evil spirit to be driven off in the first place! A powerful example of this is the thorn in the flesh described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Now there has been a lot of needless conjecture as to what exactly the “thorn in the flesh” was, but this is only because people have such difficulty believing what the text plainly says, often for doctrinal reasons. But it is clear: “the messenger of Satan” is clearly in the Greek “the angel of Satan”, and we all know that angels of Satan are evil, unclean spirits, or demons. Now for some people, the idea that a born again Christian, an apostle no less, would be tormented by a demon is doctrinally troublesome. For others, the wording of the passage makes it appear as “there was given to me” means that God gave the demon to Paul, which would seem to charge God with being responsible for temptation or evil where scripture tells us that God cannot be the author of evil. However, this stunning passage does recall how God allowed and used Satan in His dealings with Job in the Old Testament. Just as God allowed Satan to attack Job in the Old Testament for purposes that glorified God and ultimately were a blessing to Job, God allowed one of Satan’s demons to do the same regarding the apostle of Jesus Christ Paul. So then, it would not have been to the will of God or glory of God to drive this evil spirit from oppressing or tormenting Paul. Please recall: the evil spirit could not possess Paul because Christians are possessed and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. So, the demon could only afflict Paul.

And please note that Paul first sought the Lord in prayer concerning the evil spirit. Scripture does not record failed attempts at spiritual warfare and deliverance by Paul concerning the demon, and we cannot presume that these failed attempts existed because the Bible does not record them. Instead, it records Paul’s asking God three times for permission to drive the demon away, and God denying this permission for His own sovereign, God-glorifying purposes which were in service to God’s plan to conform Paul into the image of Jesus Christ! So let us not be deceived. These are not matters to be trifled with. Christians in the spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries must not act according to presumption, self-will and self-initiative. Instead, we must be guided and directed by God’s Holy Spirit. Being Holy Spirit-led and Holy Spirit-filled requires much preparation in ways that include prayer, Bible study, fellowship and good works which are conducive to spiritual maturity in advance (Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting) and also seeking God’s will during the necessary time. Note that I did not say during the time of spiritual confrontation with the forces of evil, for God must permit and instruct us when and whether He wants us to participate in such spiritual confrontations to begin with. Again, it is God’s will that is being done, not ours. It is God that is being glorified, not us. And we are acting in accordance to God’s sovereign will and not our own desires or feelings. This is why we must rely on prayer. We must humble ourselves and submit ourselves to God’s design, God’s plan, and God’s actions through prayer. Otherwise, we take rash actions of self-interest and self-will as did King Saul, who failed to wait on the Lord and found his kingdom and life – and those of his sons – taken from him.

Returning to apostle Paul, spiritual warfare and deliverance ministers have centered on the Ephesians 6:10-17 as one of their favorites for study and practice.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Regrettably, one of the reasons for this is that this passage, when taken incautiously, can invite the flesh to imagine oneself in the manner of this strong, mighty righteous and powerful HUMAN warrior image against the forces of evil, an image that we have seen reinforced time and time again in secular Hollywood movies and TV shows. Incautious and out of contexts readings and applications of this passage may cause us to think that in the Name of Jesus Christ WE have the power, WE have the authority, WE have the dominion, WE can challenge and take over strongholds and defeat the enemy, and that in doing so God’s will shall be done and He shall be glorified. This is indeed the doctrines of many popular spiritual warfare and deliverance teachers. However, such self-seeking presumption is not coming in the Name of Jesus Christ at all, but instead coming in our own name. It is so tempting to reject the counsel of those who actually do come in the Name of Jesus Christ and instead come in their own names (see John 5:43), but reject it we must. For Jesus Christ said that all who call on His Name, even all who cast out devils and do great works using His Name are not truly His. People who use the Name of Jesus Christ in accordance with self-seeking are not Jesus Christ’s sheep, because though they call on the Name of God, like Adam they are following after their own hearts. Instead, Jesus Christ’s sheep will be people who are after God’s heart, so they will seek direction from God and patiently wait on God before they act. The identifying fruit of the spiritual warfare and deliverance minister who is God’s sheep is one who exhibits patience, humility and submission in seeking the will of God lest he sin and lead others into sin, and not one who rushes in according to his own human desires and limited knowledge and misuses and misappropriates the Name of Jesus Christ carelessly, recklessly, proudly and selfishly. Instead of seeking to take authority and power after the manner of human rulers, we should be seeking to submit ourselves to, rely upon and glorify God after the manner of God’s humble servants, including the one Jesus Christ who emptied Himself, came to earth as a man, suffered humiliation and rejection, and was slain for our sins in our place on the cross, and was raised for our justification. It is the manner of the humble Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead and is blessed forever that we should emulate and identify with, and not the manner of proud, presumptive, arrogant and self-willed humanity, or for that manner of the tempter and deceiver of humanity Satan, who in his presumption decided that he would be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). Make no mistake, but in doing anything, including spiritual warfare, without first making certain that we are doing God’s will and not man’s, we are emulating not Jesus Christ in His submission and sacrifice  to the glory of God, but Satan in his mad and failed attempt at being a usurper of God’s glory. From such, spiritual warfare and deliverance minister, turn away!

Instead, turn your attention to the oft-neglected end of the “put on the whole armor of God” passage, which is verse 18, which reads “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” It clearly shows that the primary and main ingredient to spiritual warfare, to putting on the whole armor of God for confrontations against the enemy, is “praying always in asking to the Holy Spirit.” We are to always pray so that we can ask of the Holy Spirit that indwells all Christians concerning the Will of God. Without receiving and submitting to the will of God in spiritual warfare (or anything else) we aren’t performing spiritual warfare at all, but instead proud, self-seeking and harmful bombast that resists the Holy Spirit, misuses the Name of Jesus Christ, dishonors His sacrifice on the cross and refuses to glorify God the Father.  Thus, so-called spiritual warfare that rejects prayer in supplication to the Holy Spirit before, during and after is nothing more than an abomination against the Holy Trinity in clear, explicit ways.

One should note that the primacy of prayer in spiritual warfare is given at the end of both Matthew 17:14-21 and of Ephesians 6:10-18. One also notes that no explicit references to prayer seem to be made in many of the New Testament exorcism narrative accounts and references. That is indeed curious, as one would think that in Matthew 17:14-21 and Ephesians 6:10-18 that the most important thing would come first as a lead instead of coming last, and also that there would be a stronger correlation depicted between prayer and spiritual warfare. This is still more evidence of how spiritual things often do not conform to our human expectations. It is a test of our faith, of our faithfulness, of our humility and submission to see if we will study the whole counsel of God as revealed in scripture. To see if we will seek God in spirit and in truth as He commanded us to so. To answer the door of our hearts when He stands and knocks so that He will come in, sup with us, and teach us the truth. Those of us truly interested in knowing and serving God will search, notice and find these things so that we can go about performing spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry – and please recall that ministry means service, and that it is service to God first and then to man – God’s way. Those who are not will cut corners, interpret passages out of context and selectively, and do whatever we can in order to claim to be serving God in God’s way when they will really be serving themselves in their own way.

Spiritual Warfare Prayers
 
I thank and praise You Father YAHWEH for all things and by YOUR mighty power and in Jesus name, I ask for YOUR giant warrior angels to protect me both day and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the rest of my life! By YOUR mighty power, In Jesus name, I bind and break the power of  satan, all fallen angels, all demons, all unclean spirits, curses, hexes, vexes, spells, charms, fetishes,  witchcraft, sorcery, magic, voodoo, all mind control, psychic warfare, jinxes, potions, bewitchments, death, destruction, sickness, pain, torment, incantations, chanting, hoodoo, root works, money and success curses and everything else being sent my way or my family & friends way. I cast it out and command it to go to dryer places. YAHWEH rebuke thee in Jesus name!

 


 
 
Daily Victory Prayer

 
Father YAHWEH, I give endless praise to YOU
By YOUR Mighty Power, and YOUR Mighty & Holy Name in Jesus name
I declare victory in this new day
I have an abundance of Blessings.
I’m successful at everything that I do and that I touch.
I have an abundance of love, peace, joy,
good health and prosperity.
I’m a blessing to others and a shining
example of YOUR Love, Mercy and Goodness.
In Jesus name....................

Heavenly Father YAHWEH, I surrender full control of my life over to you and humbly

bow before you, to guide and rule my life, as well as, to ask for your help in releasing me

from my bondage chains.

I ask you to humbly and with reverence, that you send your GIANT Warrior angels to

remove anything and everything in our environment that is not of you.

As a warrior for you, I WILL train under you forever more and I WILL seek to destroy

the enemy at hand in this hour as I loose the seven fold spirits of GOD in us in Jesus name.

By the mighty power of YAHWEH in Jesus name: I take authority over these demons

and fully bind rebuke and cast out these demons under your precious and holy name.

I ask for you to break the bondage of satan and his dark armies, and ask that you help me

to find my place in this world. Help me to know you and your love, and call me back to you as one of your own children.  I WILL train as a warrior for you O Lord now and for the rest of my life.

Help me to always find my place in this world, to know your peace and love, and give

me guidance. Help me to be a shining example of your love, mercy, and goodness, and be

a blessing to others every day of my life. By your holy orders, and under your authority

and guidance of your hand, I permanently and forever bind rebuke, and cast out ALL

demons, entities, and worldly things not of you sending them back to the pits of hell

where they belong.

I love you Lord and I WILL forever be a warrior for you as I take my place in this world

and stand my ground against the enemy while standing beside you. I pledge my undying

love, commitment, and devotion to you. Use me always to help others to know of your

love, peace, joy and goodness and help them to find light in the darkness. Help me to

find my way back to you and keep my friends, and family safe forever more under your

hedge of protection 24 hours a day 7 days a week. May I never experience another attack

as long as I live as long as I know you are with me always.

I permanently bind, rebukeand cast out ALL demons, and entities not of you and

permanently break the bondage chains of satan and cast them all back into the pits of

hell. Please bless my coming in and going out and make my enemies to flee in 7 different

directions. I declare this is so through your MIGHTY power and holy name. YAHWEH

REBUKE THEE in Jesus name.

BLIND AND DEAFEN THE DEVIL - For Life and Home

 

In your Life-

"I blind and deafen you satan, from seeing and hearing in any shape or form, or speaking or writing within the pages of my book of life, I AM GOD's most precious and chosen Child and I AM HIS. I bind your mouth shut with the blood of Jesus, you are silenced from speaking. I bind you in the blood of Jesus, you are bound from functioning here. In Jesus name!"

 

In your Home-

"I blind and deafen you satan, from seeing and hearing in any shape or form, in my home. I bind your mouth shut with the blood of Jesus, you are silenced from speaking. I bind you in the blood of Jesus, You are bound from functioning here. In Jesus name!"

Luke10:19
Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you..

Spiritual Warfare In The Parable Of The Sower

 

According to many popular spiritual warfare teachers, a major battlefield for spiritual warfare (binding and rebuking demons) and warfare prayer or directed prayer (praying against demons, their areas of influence and their activities) relates to evangelism and missions. These doctrines teach that there are powerful demons opposing the spread of the gospel by acting not just against comprehension and acceptance of this gospel of Jesus Christ in the minds of individuals, but that they keep entire regions, population groups, nations etc. in spiritual bondage. Sometimes it is through false religions and sinful practices, other times it may be government officials working to intimidate Christians, stop the building of churches, limit the distribution of Bibles, etc. There is a huge body of evangelism and missionary literature available that deals with this subject, and many large, respected Christian seminaries and Bible colleges deal with this issue in some fashion or another, including offering entire courses related to it, including how to stage and support successful evangelistic revivals. So it begs the question: how Biblical are the doctrines involved?

To answer, there does not seem to be a wealth of Bible texts that depicts the assumption of this scenario: that there is this huge swath of people that would receive the gospel and be converted if only demonic opposition were removed from the way. This is not to say, mind you, that these references are wholly nonexistent.

Revelation 2 and 3

Revelation 2 and 3 speaks of opposition to the churches in the way of false religious doctrines and persecution that may be influenced by demons. See the reference to the blasphemy of the “synagogue of Satan” as well as the “tribulation ten days” attacking Smyrna. Pergamos being located “even where Satan’s seat is” (a reference to the church’s proximity to a center of pagan emperor worship) and the martyrdom of Antipas, and accepted the false doctrines of Balaam and Balac (idolatry/sexual immorality) and the Nicolataines.

Thyatira adhered to the Jezebel doctrines (idolatry/sexual immorality) which is referred to as “the depths of Satan”. Philadelphia is being persecuted and withstood by another reference to “the synagogue of Satan.” However, no demonic persecution is apparent regarding Laodicea, Sardis or Ephesus. Instead, those churches – and presumably their evangelistic activities – were being hindered by love of the flesh and its works thereof, and this was particularly the case with Laodicea, who fell in love with money, prestige and power.

Also, even the churches that did have problems with demonic influences, it appears that in some cases those problems existed because what the evil influences offered appealed to the flesh – the fallen natures – of the church members, and the churches yielded to the temptation not so much of the evil spirits as of the flesh. This appears to particularly be a problem with Thyatira and Pergamos. By inviting demonic problems with their own carnality, those two churches were really no different from Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus, in that the root cause of their problems was the carnality, not the evil spirits.

That is why Jesus Christ gives Thyatira and Pergamos the same remedy that He gives Laodicea, Sardis and Ephesus: repentance and return to true worship of Jesus Christ in holiness, sound doctrine and Godly fear. One should also note that regarding the two churches that did not provoke demonic persecution with their carnality or spiritual immaturity – Philadelphia and Smyrna – Jesus Christ does not tell them to respond to the demonic tormentors with spiritual warfare, but instead tells them to be faithful in the midst of trials by relying on Him and on His work, His promises and His faithfulness (see Revelation 3:8-10 and 2:10)!

So, regarding the demonic opposition that rises up against missionary work (and everything else), from what Jesus Christ told the churches concerning this opposition, we can take the position that His position is the same as that of the Holy Spirit speaking to and through Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh (a demon that tormented him) in 2 Corinthians 12:9’s “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Rather than going into spiritual warfare/deliverance over their oppression, the church was to heed the next verse’s admonition: “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak , then am I strong.” So, rather than attempting to overcome this opposition with our own warfare tactics, we are to put our trust in the sovereignty and power of God to overcome them on our behalf for His glory. Our duty, then, is to be faithful to God by keeping His commandments.

Simon Magus

Another reference is that of Simon Magus in Acts 8-9. Using false religion akin to witchcraft and the occult, Simon Magus opposed the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ in Samaria. How was this demonic stronghold defeated? Not by spiritual warfare to bind it, or by directed prayer against it. Instead, Philip the evangelist simply kept preaching, and the Holy Spirit used his preaching to break down that stronghold Himself, and the Samaritans were converted. Demon spirits cannot withstand the power of God! Indeed, even Simon Magus believed the gospel! Though this Magus was not regenerated and went on to become a notorious opponent of the gospel and advocate of a gnostic syncretist system, even his form of belief – that lacked the power of Godliness – was evidence of the triumph of the sovereignty of God over against the works of both man and evil spirits.

The Whole Armour of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 is probably the most vital text to spiritual warfare/deliverance/directed prayer teachings. It reads:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand . 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

This passage may well seem to contain a treasure trove of spiritual warfare teachings, exhortations and methodology, especially if it is interpreted more spiritually than literally. Verse 11-12’s meaning, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places“, is impossible to dispute. However, the problem is that this passage is not quoted in its entirety when spiritual warfare teaches use it. So, consider verses 19 and 20, which complete the section and the thought.

And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Recall that Paul is in a Roman prison for preaching the gospel at the time that he wrote this epistle. Rather than being some text on spiritual warfare that fails to reveal any warfare methods or practices and is of a sort that exists nowhere else in the canon of scripture, Paul was merely exhorting the church to preach the gospel, to pray for the spread of the gospel, and to pray for him specifically that he would not succumb to his flesh by allowing the persecution that he was experiencing (in jail) to cause him to either stop preaching the gospel, or even worse, to start preaching it in a way or manner that would minimize offense and better his situation.

Paul did reveal the truth that evil spirits were ultimately behind the spread of the gospel and his imprisonment, and that these spirits were the ones motivating the religious and political leadership to oppose Christianity in general and him specifically. But Paul’s purpose of doing this was to prevent his followers from using secular or temporal methods (i.e. political maneuverings or intrigue) to get him out of jail (recall that from Acts that Festus would have released Paul to the Christians had he been bribed) or overcome opposition to the gospel, but to instead rely on God. And, through the use of a military metaphor to make his words memorable (just as Paul used athletic metaphors for the same reason), Paul stated that this reliance on God and His will, being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might in order to stand against this Babylon system, meant possessing or exhibiting truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, salvation, and the gospel of peace (or of Jesus Christ).

Now had Paul simply written “go and be truthful, righteous, faithful, exhibit evidence of your salvation, preach the gospel boldly, and pray for yourselves and me also”, it would not been nearly as memorable, or as effective in the ears of the original hearers. However, it also would not have been the subject of such curious interpretations and applications as it has been through the years. One problem is that so many spiritual warfare teachers take this text as justification for their binding/rebuking/casting out doctrines and practices while ignoring what the text actually commands, which is truth, righteousness, faith, exhibiting fruits of possessing the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A particularly great irony: Paul wrote this text specifically so that the church would not have temporal aspirations or use secular (or spiritual) means to get them, but instead to keep their eyes fixed on God and eternity. However, spiritual warfare teachers, particularly those in dominion theology, use this verse to mean that Christians should use spiritual warfare against demons that control government and religions for the purposes of asserting political, social and economic control over nations and ultimately the globe. So where the Holy Spirit spoke that text through Paul commanding Christians to be patient, faithful and reliant on God, this verse is being misapplied by men who misuse Christ’s Name while pursuing their own thirst for power.

The spiritual wickedness in high places will be overcome by Jesus Christ, and not by man, and yes man does include Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will overthrow Babylon, not the church taking authority, recovering the dominion that was given to Adam (for the dominion given to Adam transferred not to the church but to Jesus Christ!), overthrowing Babylon, and setting up its own rule in its place. Revelation does not depict the church defeating and overthrowing Babylon, but Jesus Christ returning to defeat Babylon! Recall that it will be given to the beast to make war against the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:7) and that Babylon will be filled with the blood of Christian martyrs. Only the return of Jesus Christ will save us from this. Evidence of this is how Paul did not apply this very same text used by spiritual warriors in their quest to take towns and nations for Christ in asking for his fellow Christians to so much as pray to get him out of jail! Instead, Paul ultimately humbly glorified Jesus Christ by dying the death of a martyr.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

This text is explicit. “But if our gospel be hid , it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  This reminds us of Revelation 12:9, which says that Satan deceives the whole world concerning the truth of Jesus Christ. But what does 2 Corinthians 4 tell us to do about this sad fact? Not spiritual warfare to take on dominions, powers and principalities. Instead, there is merely a brief exhortation to confront this fact by the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is curious that in the prior chapter, there is an apparent reference to the blindness of the Jews reminiscent of Romans 11. Both Romans 11 and 2 Corinthians 3 state that the ending of this blindness, the “lifting of the vail upon their hearts” as it is called in 2 Corinthians 3:11-18, will happen when God commands it. The King James Version text states that this will happen when Israel turns to the Lord, and Zechariah 12 supports this. Israel’s turning to God will not occur as a result of Christians binding and rebuking dominions and directing prayer towards them, but after the times of the Gentiles – as mentioned in Romans 11 – ceases. Just as the return of Israel from Babylonian captivity happened when the prophesied 70 years were completed, the coming of Israel to Jesus Christ will occur when the times of the Gentiles end, and this is a predetermined time known only by God the Father. Warfare prayers cannot open the eyes of the blind. Only the Holy Spirit can. The Holy Spirit does this in concert with the preaching of the gospel by drawing sinners, convicting them and opening the eyes of those Satan has blinded.

Parable of the Sower

This brings us to the parable of the sower of Mark 4:3-20, Matthew 13:3-23, and Luke 8:5-15. This parable is probably the best theological treatment of evangelism and missions in the Bible, and all of the apostolic teachings in the epistles, including Paul’s, merely expands on it, or enhances the Christology of it. Jesus Christ is the seed, for His gospel is the seed, and the legitimate gospel presents Jesus Christ Himself: it is Jesus Christ Himself through the reality of His existence, His teachings, His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead that is being sowed into hearts. Also, Jesus Christ is the sower, for it is the church, Jesus Christ’s own body, that preaches the gospel. For brevity, Luke’s presentation will be given.

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed , some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down , and the fowls of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up , it withered away , because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it , and choked it. 8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up , and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried , He that hath ears to hear , let him hear . 9 And his disciples asked him, saying , What might this parable be ? 10 And he said , Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see , and hearing they might not understand . 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear ; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved . 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear , receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe , and in time of temptation fall away . 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard , go forth , and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection . 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Please note first of all that the gospel is not only or merely to be preached where the way has first been paved by spiritual warfare and directed prayer. Instead, the seed is sowed everywhere. The gospel must be taken wherever the Christian goes, and it should be preached for and to the glory of God in addition to the goal of converting sinners. It is not to be preached in some strategic, planned manner desired to produce the most or best results after the manner of some corporate marketing scheme or government program.

Quite the contrary, the sowing of the seed seems almost heedless or arbitrary. The sower is only concerned about sowing the seeds, and the sower then leaves the seeds to their own fate. The reason is that the job of the sower begins and ends with sowing the seeds. (Please note that we are speaking of evangelism only, not discipleship or fellowship.) Just as a human farmer planting corn or watermelon, he simply puts the seed into the ground and allows “nature” (not really!) to take over.

Sure, he may water it, fertilize it, and take actions to remove weeds, but none of those will make the seed grow. Only God (not “nature”) can make the seed grow! And the same as it is with evangelism. Directed warfare prayer does not convert people, only the Holy Spirit does. The only caveat is that for the seed to grow, it must first be planted, so for converts to be made, the gospel should be preached. So, efforts in binding, rebuking demons and praying against them should be redirected towards evangelism, whether personal or public.

Another consideration: of the four groups listed by Jesus Christ, which were the seeds that landed 1. on the wayside, 2. on stony ground, 3. among thorns and 4. in good soil, the works of Satan were only explicitly mentioned in one of those, the ones that landed on the wayside! Now Luke 8:13 does say that Satan does this in order to prevent people from being saved. But Matthew 13:19 states that this is made possible only because of the failure of the person to understand or comprehend the gospel! While this certainly reminds one of Hosea 4:6’s “many people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”, the truth is that only the Holy Spirit gives one knowledge or comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states that the natural man cannot perceive or understand spiritual things, and that includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, binding and rebuking the enemy and directed warfare prayer will not result in the effectual opening of the hearts of the gospel, because this will not happen in a heart where the Holy Spirit is not active to provide comprehension of that gospel!

Now what of the other two groups who are not saved, meaning those among the thorns and those on the stony ground? The failure of these groups are not attributable to evil spirits, but of human nature: the flesh. Those among the thorns do not persevere because they prefer the riches and cares of this world. They are akin to Demas and the aforementioned Simon Magus. While it is true that Satan is behind the Babylon system that tempts men with its illicit pleasures, but going into spiritual battle against that system is to no avail when the issue is not the Satanic availability of the system, but the failure of man to resist it. Again, without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not so much that Satan that man cannot overcome, but rather his own flesh that Satan appeals to with his temptations: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. It was these things that Satan appealed to in order to cause the fall of Adam, and it was also these things that Jesus Christ resisted during His time of temptation in the desert. So, it is not the presence of Satan but the absence of the Holy Spirit that is the key here, and that is something that warring against devils will not fix.

The same is true with the other group, the one that falls among thorns. Though Revelation and other areas of the Bible make it abundantly clear that Satan provokes and controls the persecution of those who believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, the issue is those who yield to this persecution because of the weakness of the flesh. The parents of the man born blind refused to testify to the miracle of Jesus Christ worked on their own son because they feared being put out of the synagogues. The gospels refer to many others who believed in Jesus Christ but refused to testify of it because they feared the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Of those like unto them, Jesus Christ said that those who are ashamed of Him in this life will not be saved on judgment day!) The epistle to the Hebrews was written to warn Jewish Christians that they could not be saved if they abandoned the faith due to persecution, and Revelation 2-3 (indeed the entire epistle!) was written for the purposes of encouraging Christians to endure persecution to the very end.

Falling away due to the cares of the world and falling away due to persecution are two sides of the same coin. One is more concerned with pleasing the flesh than pleasing God, and the other is more concerned with preserving the flesh than preserving the relationship with God, and both are of Esau in that they mortgage their future inheritance for much lesser benefits in the present. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives Christians comprehension of the gospel so that Satan cannot deceive them with a lie (i.e. false Babylon religions including atheism), and the Holy Spirit is also the One who seals Christians so that they do not yield to the pressure on their flesh that the Babylon system exerts either through persecution or enticement. So, in all three cases, spiritual warfare and directed prayer will not overcome the lack of Holy Spirit involvement concerning an unbeliever. Doctrines otherwise are those which place the erstwhile spiritual warrior in the place of God.


                                                          DELIVERANCE AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE TIPS

All demons are legalists (which is why Christians should not be). Remember, the name “Satan” means “accuser.” A demon will wait until a person breaks one of the Ten Commandments or any of the other Biblical laws. Once a person has done so, it has the legal right to accuse a person. Now if a person is saved through Jesus Christ, God has a hedge of protection around him, guardian angels if you will, that will defend against demonic oppression that comes as the result of “falling”, sinning through ignorance or as the result of a one – time act of disobedience. But if a person is unsaved, or if the Christian is willfully and persistently rebellious, defying the Word of God, then there will be no hedge. Which will not necessarily mean that demonic possession and oppression will always happen, just that there is the opportunity to do so. Incidentally, a Christian who is legalistic rejects what the Bible says abotut God’s grace and puts his faith in his doctrines, religion, and human efforts rather than in God. So, legalistic Christians are actually more at risk to become oppressed by devils than a great many of the unsaved, especially if a person follows after a doctrine that teaches that he can “lose his salvation” or that his “holiness” or “spiritual gifts” are the result of righteousness attained by works; common teachings in Oneness Pentecostalism and other “holiness or hell” – I call it “their notions of holiness will take you straight to hell” – strands of people who deny the Bible’s teachings of grace and Trinity.

Whatever the demon and however they entered (and here is an excellent resource briefly explaining how they enter), all demons must be cast out of all believers and potential believers in the name and by the blood of Jesus Christ as directed by the Holy Spirit. We also must intercede for believers, unbelievers, groups of people, and the entire Body of Christ by binding these demons from the mind of people and commanding them to loose the will of people by the blood and in the name of Jesus Christ. We must also whether conducting deliverance or performing intercession bind these demons from seeking help from other demons or from principalities or powers in the name of Jesus Christ, and once they are cast out that bind them from entering anyone else in the name of Jesus Christ. After intercession, we must pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ that the people or groups that we interceded for would be led by God to seek deliverance from whoever God would send them to, and that they would have faith and be obedient and heed God’s call. We must also pray and intercede for the deliverance ministers as well in the name of Jesus Christ.  

Example:

First pray for revelation from the Holy Spirit – Father God in the name of Jesus Christ, please tell me whether this person is being trespassed by a demon or demons or afflicted by them. Please Lord in the name of Jesus Christ inform me which demons are trespassing or afflicting this individual. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Next, rebuke and bind the evil spirit in the name of Jesus Christ – In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke you demon of _. In the name of Jesus Christ, I bind you demon of _ from continuing to afflict this person. In the name of Jesus Christ, I bind you demon of _ from seeking help from other demons, powers, principalities, or rulers of darkness, and in the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke and bind all other demons, powers, principalities, or rulers of darkness from trying to help you.

With direct deliverance, command the demon to leave the person – In the name of Jesus Christ and by the blood of Jesus Christ, I command you demon of _ to go from _ right now! In the name of Jesus Christ, you cannot stay in _ demon of _ and you must leave now, by the blood of Jesus Christ! I rebuke you _ in the name of Jesus Christ, and in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to get out of _! (Continue with guidance from the Holy Spirit until God tells you that the demon is gone. The Holy Spirit may tell you that the person being delivered is holding onto the demon or something else that is not of God and therefore allowing the demon to remain; if so the person may need further counseling and prayer to renounce and reject anything that displeases God before the deliverance can proceed).


With intercession, rather than commanding the demon to come out, you must bind the demon until such time that it can be cast out – In the name of Jesus Christ, I bind you demon of _ from controlling or influencing the mind and will of _. In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you demon of _ to loose the will and mind of _.

The next step of intercession is to pray that God would lead the person to seek deliverance – Father God in the name of Jesus Christ, please touch the heart of _ and lead _ to seek deliverance from the demon of _ in the manner that you choose. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Please note that intercession and deliverance can be done for groups of people at once in addition to one at a time. As a matter of fact, Christians should engage in spiritual intercession for friends, acquaintances, their church congregation, and the entire Body of Christ on a regular basis. But the most important thing is to always be led by the Holy Spirit, as the key to successful spiritual warfare is receiving revelation and guidance from God. If you want more information on how to effectively conduct spiritual warfare, first go to the source, the Father himself in the name of his Son Jesus Christ for guidance in the right direction. Ordinarily I would suggest that you then talk to your pastor, but the sad truth is that few pastors are involved in deliverance ministry in any serious way, and a great many are opposed to it, which is yet another reason why God should be your guide. Who knows … God may lead you to inform your pastor on the importance of spiritual warfare and deliverance! If I may suggest a reference, it is the book “Pigs In The Parlor” by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond. It is a great starting point and general guide. May God bless. lead, and guide you in this critical area.


 

PRAYER FOR THE FAITH OF THE BELIEVERS

 

Father God in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ, may your children renounce and reject the shame, condemnation, embarrassment, and weakness of man and instead embrace Your Word, Your Power, and Your Spirit. May your children confess their fears and weaknesses to you. Instead of trying to hide them from themselves, the outside world, and from your face within themselves, or rather than convince themselves that their weakness is a virtue, may they renounce it in the Name of Jesus Christ. May they come to you in not only faith and broken – spiritness but also in happiness and victory; happiness and victory because they KNOW that once they tell you about it you will move it from them! Father God, I just know and feel within my spirit that the attack has begun. I know that the lying spirit, the faithlessness spirit, the anti – Christ spirit is moving through the Body of Christ amongst the Believers. Lord God, there has been false counsel stating that only the new in faith and the weak in faith and those who have not received sound doctrine and a solid theological background are vulnerable, but the truth is Father God everyone is vulnerable who is not watchful, elect, and who does not hate their lives on earth so that they can gain lives in Heaven. Everyone who does not hate their earthly families and love their spiritual families is vulnerable. Everyone who loves worldly comforts and things, everyone who cannot let go of fears, hurts, pains, and lusts; everyone who does not love their neighbor and does not have patience, peace, and understanding is vulnerable!

 

May the Believers know that everyone who does not put you first is vulnerable, and if that means them then they need to go to you in prayer! Oh Lord what a time this is! What a time this is to be on the earth! Many of your Believers are going to wish that they had been placed on the earth at a different time, when this attack was not yet unleashed upon the earth! Many of your Believers are going to wish that they were in Heaven already, or could be taken up immediately. Many of your Believers are going to start falling for false signs, theologies, and deceivers hoping that the Rapture is going to come immediately to rescue them from this evil time. May those Believers reject and renounce those fears and thoughts. Even though you told your servant John in the Revelation through your Son Jesus Christ that you are going to rescue us from the hour of temptation that will try the whole world, may we know that our hour on earth has not yet passed, that we must continue a short space. Indeed, the opposite is true; our time has now come! You Lord did predestinate and ordain that we were to be on earth at this time because you knew us before you made us; you knew us before history was made, and you put this generation on this earth so that we could withstand this evil time and still do your will! So may we not fall for any of the tricks of the enemy. May we not fall for the faithlessness spirit, for the lying spirit, for the worldliness spirit, for the hateful spirit, for the idolatry spirit, for the anti – Christ spirit! May we not be deceived into forsaking our work on earth and wishing for Heaven when it is against Your Will and it is not yet time! Instead, Lord, may we fall on our faces, go into fasting and prayer, put on ashes and sackcloth, keep the traditions and commandments given to us in the Bible, and commit ourselves to you, join ourselves to you as never before! Not join ourselves to institutions or to people, but to you! Lord, may we come to you, admit our weaknesses and faithlessness, and beg you to take it away from us, and then rejoice that it is done! Lord, may the Body of Christ know that it is time to wake up. May the Body of Christ know that this anti – Christ spirit cannot be defeated with rituals. May the Believers know that this anti – Christ spirit cannot be defeated with traditions. May the Believers know that the anti – Christ spirit cannot be defeated with institutions. May the Believers know that this anti – Christ spirit cannot be defeated with fellowship. May the Believers know that the anti – Christ spirit cannot be defeated with intellectual knowledge.

 

May the Believers know that the anti – Christ spirit cannot be defeated through works, not even through much reading of the Scriptures and prayer. May the Believers know that this anti – Christ spirit cannot even be defeated with honorable, noble, sincere intentions! May the Believers know that this anti – Christ spirit can only be defeated through faith, and that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God! Lord, may your Believers not fear. May your Believers not be ashamed. May they come to you. May they admit their weaknesses. May they admit their faults. May they ask you to confirm their faith. May they ask you to strengthen their faith. May they ask you if you are really there, and if Your Word is true, or if it is the doing of man! May they not fear your reproof, but may they love your reproof, for who you reprove you love! May they know that if you reprove them, then obviously you exist and therefore they should rejoice! Lord, may your Believers know that now is not the time for them to “name and claim” their faith, for you must have prior faith before you can name and claim anything. May your Believers come to you and ask you to restore and build up within them faith so that they can begin to name and claim more faith, and whatever it is that you would have them to have! Lord, now is the time for your true Believers, the ones who yet have faith and those whose faith that you have renewed and restored, to come out of the closet. To come out of the shadows. To start sharing their testimony. To start spreading the gospel, speaking The Word. To start doing things in public, not for their own acclaim but for the edification of the Body of Christ, so that the people might believe. Now is the time to stop fearing public condemnation, embarrassment, losing their jobs and friends, being kicked out of churches, or what have you; for them to stop loving and holding onto the world and to know that the world hates them because they are not of the world and that all this time the world has been pretending to love them for the purposes of trying to deceive them and to draw them in. But may your children know that now is the time when the separation is going to come, when brother shall be set against brother, parents against children, friends against friends, husbands against wives for Your Name’s sake. During this time, may your Believers not look upon each other’s faults.

 

May they not look upon who has gotten a divorce, who has committed adultery, who has stolen money, who has been an idolater or a murderer, who has been a racist, who has gone bankrupt, gone to jail, or otherwise come short of your glory in this life. Instead, may we consider who has The Word within them and is not ashamed. Let us see who has The Word within them, seek to have The Word with us, and fellowship with The Word, not with people or with institutions! Lord, it is time for your Believers to speak the word of testimony, to live the word of testimony! To go out and work mighty works so that the people might believe! Not so that the unsaved might believe, even though the unsaved are important. Lord, we have faith that the unsaved are in your hand, and will be delivered to us for preaching The Word and receiving salvation at the time that you have appointed. But Lord, may true Believers start speaking the word of testimony and doing great things, things which have never been done before, things which cannot be explained by science or economics or politics or “nature” or chance, so that the other Believers, the Believers whose faith are being tested, might believe and go to you and repent and ask for faith! May declarations of healings, changings of the natures and seasons, visions, tongues, dreams, prophecies, and other mighty works be declared! May they be worked before the people! Let the evidence of your power, your spirit, your love be done openly, Lord God, and let all who believe believe, be they Jew or Gentile, saved or unsaved, young or old, weak or strong. Lord, sadly, not everyone will believe. Some will harden their heart, choose the world, and allow Satan to steal that which they already have. Some will choose fear, others will choose to be lukewarm, others will choose idolatry, others will choose the approval of man, others will choose the comfort of the familiar. It is sad, Lord, but not everyone will choose submission to you. Not everyone will decide that they love you more than they love themselves. Not everyone will decide that you are greater than them. Not so much the people who will decide that you do not exist, but the people who will decide that you exist but not totally submit to you and put you first but lie to themselves that merely believing that you exist is enough. Such people will willingly misinterpret your Scriptures so that they believe what they want to believe. Such people will not be able to blame Satan or his anti – Christ spirit, but instead they will choose and accept a lie because they will love the lie more than they love the truth because they love themselves more than they love you. But Lord, even for some of those, there is yet hope! For those people will still be here when the hour of temptation comes to try the whole world! The ones who decide for you now will be gone, but they will still be here! And when they see the wrath of the Lamb, some will yet repent; some will yet decide to lose their lives on earth to be with you in Heaven for yes, Your Word is true, it will cost them their lives but praise You Lord God Jehovah they will surrender it to you anyway because they will decide that they truly love you more than they love themselves after all! But for the rest, Lord, of them it will be said that it would have been better had they never been born!

I thank God that such will never be said about me, for I am a true Believer with true faith who is unashamed to lay my faults before you, who knows that I am nothing and have nothing without you, and hate this world and this life for love of the next one! And if you are reading this prayer and the same is not true of you, please make it so today! Right now, say the Salvation Prayer, or at least believe on John 3:16 and on Romans 10:9-10 and be saved! And if you are already saved but do not have strong faith, the type of faith that it will take to resist the anti – Christ, then please, confess it to the Lord and seek it through prayer. It will not come by observance of rituals or works. It will not even come by vain prayer and Scripture reading! You are not smarter than God! Do not think that you can trick God, thinking that you can increase your faith by praying for something else, saying “If I pray for something else and it comes true, then I will believe!” Even if that works and it does come to pass – and it yet may if what you are praying for is motivated by the Holy Spirit, your faith will not last for it is conditional, temporal, earthly! You need to stop playing with God, to stop playing with yourself, to stop playing games, and to get real with yourself and with your God. Yes, He is YOUR GOD! So stop the vain prayers and pray for faith! Stop the vain Scripture reading and read verses regarding faith! Do research, use the reference and concordance Bibles, receive direction from true ministers and Believers about what the faith scriptures are; especially the Psalms, the Revelation to John, the Book of John, Paul’s letters to the churches, and the prophets! Put aside everything else. Put aside all of your other projects, even if they are things that you have set upon your heart to do for God. If you do not have faith through this time, all of your other projects will be done in vain anyway, they will be a snare to you! The time is at hand, and this will be the most important thing that you do after giving your life to Christ! Go do it now! In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen! 

Greetings!

 

Here is a sample addition to our evolving Blood of Jesus Prayer Points Library that I am assembling. I am assembling so each of can save it on our desktop and have easy access to.

 

The following is a collection of spiritual warfare prayers that may be used if you find yourself combating Witchcraft and any of its influences. These are not suggested daily prayers or family prayers. Simply a collection of sample prayers that can be used against situations or forces.

 

Please feel free to review them and get back to me if you have any change or addition suggestions. This is not a complete teaching, it's an evolveing reference library.

 

OFFENSIVE POWER of THE BLOOD OF JESUS AGAINST WITCHCRAFT, the EVER PRESENT and Increasing DANGER!

 

There are different types of enemies that that witchcraft uses in their fight against man. Witchcraft uses demons, curses and spells to do its evil work. The devil groups these demons into several segments, so that they can carry out the satanic mission with order and power. 

 

Many people do not know that the devil is not omnipresent i.e. is not everywhere at the same time but he has designed a very good operational network to carry out his activities. In spiritual terms , we call it satanic division of labour. The workers of Satan, the demons, work specifically in their particular division and then together. Each sub-division report to its head and the head to their boss and the bosses to their master, the devil.

 

You have the forces of the air, of the land, and the waters. These are principalities and powers. These are demonic spirits, witchcraft spirits, marine spirits, ancestral spirit, monitoring spirits, familiar and unfamiliar spirits etc. Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.

 

Witchcraft is about control, through intimidation, manipulation {tricks}, domination {force}. If you are a person that is so extreme, so bend excessively in controlling, you would attract demonic spirits that will want to do your biding. Everything should be done moderately.

               

 42 Offensive PRAYERS Against WITCHCRAFT

By the Blood of Jesus, I decree freedom from dark powers, Jezebel, Queen of the coast, false prophetic words, controllers, manipulators, sorcerers, witches, counterfeits, soul-ties, spiritual folly, sooth-sayers, lying spirits, lying dreams, and lying vision in JESUS NAME.

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1.   Rev12:11. I plead the Blood of Jesus to overcome every power rewriting my destiny and I command they to be paralysed in the mighty name of Jesus.

 

2.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ, I command every witchcraft power that is oppressing me in the dream be destroyed by fire in Jesus name.
 

3.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ, I hereby renounce and separate myself from every wrong associations carrying witchcraft message, false motives, and hidden agendas in Jesus name.

 

 4. Isaiah 58:6. Under the authority of Jesus Christ, I command every witchcraft yokes, chains and strongholds in my life to break now in Jesus Mighty name.
 

5.  Philippians2:9-10. In Jesus name, I break the power of witchcraft, deception, seduction, sorcery and intimidation programmed against me and my family.
 

6.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Let Every chain of inherited witchcraft in my family, break in the name of Jesus
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7.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, let every witchcraft imagination and decision against my life be shattered.            
 

8.  I Plead the Blood against every witchcraft burial fashioned against me and any members of my family.
 

9.  Psalm125:3. The rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous. Therefore, every traps set for me by witches begin to catch yourself in Jesus Mighty Name.
 

10.  I plead the Blood of Jesus over my mind, commanding stability and order to prevail in my soul, in Jesus name.

 

11.  I plead the Blood of Jesus over my mind, commanding stability and order to prevail in my soul, in Jesus name.
 

12.  By the Blood of Jesus, I break and loose myself from the powers of confusion, torment, fear, control, oppression and manipulation over my life in Jesus mighty name.
 

13.  Col2:14. Every witchcraft utterance spoken against me, be neutralised by the Blood of Jesus.
 

14.   Under the authority of Jesus Christ, I command every witchcraft foundation in my life to be dissolved by earthquake from heaven in Jesus name. Let every witchcraft foundation in my household be destroyed by fire in Jesus mighty name.
 

15.   Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Let every witchcraft concoction that has been injected in my blood, I purge them with the blood of Jesus,
 

16.   Under the authority of Jesus Christ, Every witchcraft odour or mark in my life by purged away by the blood of Jesus.
 

17.  Deut.12:3. O God, let your thunder fire locate and dismantle every seat, altar, throne and stronghold of witchcraft in my household. Let them be roasted by fire beyond redemption in Jesus mighty name
 

18.   Under the authority of Jesus Christ, Let every agent ministering at the altar of witchcraft in my household fall down and die in Jesus name.
 

19.   Num23:23. Under the authority of Jesus Christ, Let any witchcraft curse working against my life be neutralised and revoked.
 

20. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Let every witchcraft decision, vow and convenant of my household witches affecting me be nullified. I break myself loose from every bondage of witchcraft convenant.
 

21.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Any material taken from my body now placed on marine-witchcraft altars be roasted by the fire of God in Jesus name.
 

22.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, I command every demonic witchcraft deposit in me to be consumed by fire and purge away by the blood of Jesus.
 

23.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Every witchcraft padlock fashioned against any area of my life be roasted by fire in Jesus name
 

24.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, let the wisdom of household witches be converted to foolishness in Jesus mighty name.
 

25.  Isaiah57:21. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, The wicked shall not go unpunished. 26.  So, O Lord let the wickedness  of my household witches overturn them in Jesus mighty name.
 

27     Number 23:23. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, O Lord, deliver my soul from every witchcraft bewitchment in the name of Jesus.
 

28.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Any of my blessing and testimonies swallowed by witches be converted now to hot coals of fire of God and be vomited out in the name of Jesus.
 

29.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Any of my blessing traded out by household witches be restored back to me now in Jesus mighty name.
 

30.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, Every evil ever done to me through witchcraft attack, be reversed now in the name of Jesus.
 

31.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, let witchcraft covens melt away as wax before fire.
 

32. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, O God arise and instruct your Angels to set unquenchable fire on witchcraft shrines and habitations assigned against me in Jesus name.
 

33.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, May the Angels of fire, arise and slay every power of witchcraft.
 

34.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, May the ground refuse to carry out the instruction of witch doctors assigned against me.
 

35.   Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, I deprogram and cancel all witchcraft prophesies over my life by the power in the Blood of Jesus.
 

36.   Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, No witch or wizard shall prosper in my environment. Therefore, I command all environmental witches to be exposed and disgraced in Jesus name.
 

37.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, I crush every agenda of witchcraft over my life and family.
 

38.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, I bind up and ties with spiritual cords every evil load, prayer, curse or spell of witchcraft against me, and send it back to the sender seven times more powerful than it was sent to be.
 

39. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, I command that every witchcraft group in my family and family tree be dismantled.
 

40.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, May all Witchcraft manipulation on my finances, rebuke, bind and capture with spiritual cords
 

41.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, May Every ancestral witchcraft claim over my life be broken.
 

42. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Power of His Blood, I destroy every pin of witchcraft in my family-line.

While we don't totally agree with the views experssed by Author of this 10 part article series, The Author makes a great point. while the facts are correct, we do agree with the stuff about Spirtiual Warfare, We don't always agree with where they state they don't necessarily agree with where they disagree. So, while they give great advice, we ask that you pray for discernment on this and the stance you will take.

 

The War Against Satan

and Demons:

1. The Unseen Realm

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

To introduce our topic, I would like to start with one of my fishing stories from my younger days as a commercial fisherman outside the east coast port of Harwich, Essex, England. The first sign that I knew something was wrong was when I glanced down at the water rushing past our fishing trawler in the wrong direction! The net that my father and I were towing along the bottom of the seabed had caught on something substantial, something on the bottom of the seafloor. We put our winches in gear and slowly pulled the boat back against the tide toward the object stuck in our net. Inch by inch, we heaved the net with our two-ton winch straining at the weight. Our fishing boat, the Why Worry, leaned heavily over as she creaked and groaned, the derrick and mast taking the strain. When the net came to the surface, there nestling squarely in the Cod End, was the biggest of the Second World War German Magnetic mines, a sizeable 12-foot-long mine still in gleaming pristine condition with 1500 pounds of high explosive. Designed to blow ships entirely in half by the upward blast, it was now swinging to and fro just inches above our deck as the waves were making us roll. 

 

With a heavy clunk, we rested the mine on the deck. It was made of stainless steel and looked brand new. The chains in front of our net had dragged it out from being buried in the mud in a very familiar fishing ground, a place we had fished again and again. Once we cut the mine out of our net, we then had to get it over the side again without incident, a delicate task, considering that it was still in such good condition and that it was possible that it could explode. Fishermen have often heard of boats just disappearing at sea, never knowing what happened to them. 
 

With the whole boat leaning over, we gently lowered it back into the sea and carefully cut through the rope loop, releasing it from our vessel. Then to our amazement, the mine stood up in the water, the top part of it still showing! We had not realized how shallow the water was and how little water was under our boat where we let it go. We called the Coastguard to come and detonate the mine so that it would not be a danger to any other ships. On the next high tide, they put it on a long rope and towed it out to deeper water and blew it up. We heard later that when the tide had gone out, at the low water point, people were walking on the secluded beach and wondering what this 12-foot monstrosity was that was standing up on the beach at low tide!

 

Seeing Beyond the Physical Realm

 

Like trawling a net in waters where two world wars have been fought, some things in life can be unseen but deadly. Just because you may be unaware of something dangerous, it doesn't mean it cannot affect you. Electricity in a light plug is unseen, but stick your fingers in a live socket, and you will soon realize that there are powerful things that are unseen but dangerous. Natural gas is odorless and invisible, and if there is a lot of it in your house, it can utterly destroy your home. The gas companies add a horrible smell to it so that, when there's a leak, we’ll smell it. 

The unexploded mine brought home the truth to me that just as we had gone over that familiar fishing ground again and again with no mishap, there are some things in life that one cannot see, but which can affect our lives in ways that we don't realize. Throughout the Bible, we see that there is more to this world than what is seen with the naked eye. There is a spiritual realm that is just as real as the world in which we live. I believe it to be more real than what is seen. This world is only temporary and passing, a shadow of things to come. Some things that happen are spiritual and unseen, but yet have consequences in the physical realm. 

In the Old Testament book of 2 Kings, there is a story of a king reigning in Aram who was angry because his actions and intentions were somehow being made known to the armies of Israel. He could not understand how Israel knew everything he was doing and anything he plotted (2 Kings 6:8-10). He thought that he had a spy among his leaders. His problem was that Israel had a man of God, Elisha, who lived his life in such a way that he was able, by the Spirit of God, to know the very words that the King of Aram spoke in secret to his generals (2 Kings 6:11-12). God revealed these things to Elisha, who was acutely aware of the unseen realms, and who had an intimate and powerful prayer life, which gave him this unique insight.  When the King of Aram found out about Elisha's gift, he was so enraged that he sent his army to the town where Elisha lived, hoping to kill or capture him.

14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" 17And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:14-18).

When Elisha’s servant looked at the size of the army of Aram surrounding the city, he began to lose heart. Things looked hopeless when seen only from an earthly perspective. However, all was not as it seemed. There were spiritual forces of God around Elisha and Gehazi, his servant, which the young novice to the things of God was unaware. Elisha prayed for his servant's eyes to be opened to the unseen spiritual realm around them. All of a sudden, at the prayer of Elisha, he saw beyond this physical world to the reality of the spiritual forces of God previously hidden from him, and he saw angelic beings of God that were much more powerful than the army of Aram. He saw the troops of heaven protecting and surrounding the prophet of God, available to serve him in whatever way the prophet prayed. The enemies of Israel were defeated with one display of God's power at the prayer of Elisha. We too, as servants of the Living God, have angelic hosts that protect us.

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

How much do we use or value heavenly help when we are in need? The Word of God is very clear that angels are sent by God to serve us even before we come to faith in Christ and, of course, afterward, too. The Scripture is written in the future tense. Angels are sent to help and protect those who will inherit salvation. That means that God is working ahead of time on behalf of those who choose to follow Him. Even when we are babies, Scripture indicates that we have an unseen protector, an angel that watches over us:

See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven (Matthew 18:10).

We do not reach out to the angels in prayer for their help. No, our prayer is directed to the Father in whom we place our trust. Angelic beings take their direction and orders from the Father. It is faith in God that connects us to this unseen realm, just as it is faith that opened the servant’s eyes and faith that caused Elisha to reach out to God in prayer. I believe that every one of us who are Christians has an angel watching over us (Acts 12:15), sent to serve the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14).

 

Question 1. Have you ever had that feeling that something invisible was protecting you through something that you experienced? Talk to one another and share any stories that you may have.

Many Christians are just like Elisha’s servant, unaware of God’s power and supernatural resources. The majority of Christians in the West have no room for the supernatural. For the most part, we are oblivious to angelic beings and demonic spirits in the unseen realm. How many times do we miss seeing God's power displayed, and Satan's kingdom displaced because we do not reach out to God in prayer and believe Him for His divine resources and intervention? Although God is sovereign and all-powerful, He chooses to act in partnership with His people through prayer and faith in God.

Before he came to Christ, Brian Gough, an old friend of mine from Harwich in Essex, England, used to be involved in spiritual things of an occult nature. He was ignorant of the dangers that he invited into his home. His family began to hear voices and see spirits in their home after playing a few times with an Ouija board. His children became accustomed to seeing disembodied spirits who deceived them into thinking they were spirit guides. The family knew the spirits by name and duped into believing that “white magic” was harmless until one night all hell broke loose, and demons started to manifest to them. They were frightened and realized that they were involved with something very dark and not at all harmless. The things they saw and heard in their home horrified all of them. 

These manifestations went on all day until Brian looked up the address of the local evangelical church pastor, Harry Hughes, and started walking to his house for help. On the way, he heard audible voices telling him, "If you go to his house, we will kill you all." Concerned for the safety of his family, Brian ignored the threatening voices and went and saw Harry Hughes. Harry came and cleansed his house, praying and taking authority over every evil spirit in the house and removing every occult token there. He then led the family in prayers of repentance and renouncing every evil hold that dark evil spirits had on his family. They finished their time of worship by dedicating their home to the worship of God and His Word. When Brian and his family committed their lives to Christ and repented, renounced and abandoned all involvement in the occult, their lives were wholly renewed, and no demonic activity occurred in their house from that moment.
 

Question 2. Have you ever had a supernatural experience where you sensed great evil? How did you respond? 

How Does the Unseen Realm Affect Us?

 

God has given us protection. In a later session, we will talk about the armor of God, given to Christians for their protection against the warfare of the enemy, but for now let’s talk about the natural “fence or hedge’ (Job 1:10), the barrier that keeps the enemy from making inroads into people’s lives.

 

6One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 8Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." 9"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10"Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger" (Job 1:6-12 Emphasis mine). 

In Job's case, Satan wanted to destroy his testimony of God's faithfulness, and for His own reasons, God allowed the hedge of protection to be removed and gave permission for Satan to attack Job. The enemy strategizes as to how he can break down that natural barrier that protects our soul from fear, bondage, and servitude to demonic forces.  When we play around with the occult, for instance, this “hedge” is gradually eroded or cut back, and one can see and experience things that are generally not seen. 

The enemy, Satan, gives occult power to those who are obedient to his whim. Occult power can be attractive to those seeking such things, but it never comes without a price. Every form of evil supernatural power comes with a hook in it, trapping one to satanic bondage. When the ground is given to the enemy to do his will, oppression and darkness are always the results. Drugs are another means of eroding that barrier so that one can experience alternate states of reality. 
 

Satan never gives away such experiences without bringing those who are searching in the darkness closer to him. God, by His Spirit, also enables His people to move in supernatural power if we are open to being used of Him, but when God moves His people to act under His authority, there is never a hook. It brings joy to the heart to be useful for God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is always liberty and freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17), unlike the enemy. 

Chip Ingram, the author of a book called “The Invisible War,” states, "There is a visible and an invisible world that intersects, and we live in that intersection. "[1] Sometimes, when people are sick, they may see things in the unseen realm. Often when a person is dying, there are accounts of people and things that they see on the other side. 

Question 3. Share an occasion when you were by the bedside of a loved one that saw something in the unseen realm, or have you heard a story of someone who saw something supernatural?

Svetlana Stalin, the daughter of Josef Stalin, the evil leader of Russia from 1922-1953, accompanied her father at death’s door and said that she would never again sit alongside an unbeliever who was dying. She said that he went into hell kicking and screaming. Voltaire was said to have died crying out in torment. Speaking for those who do know God, C.M. Ward said, "No Christian has ever been known to recant on his deathbed." 

Paul the Apostle saw and experienced many supernatural occurrences as he walked as a Spirit-led believer in Christ. One such experience he tells us about:

1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

Paul is talking about something that he witnessed. He declares that he doesn't even know if he was in his body at the time when he was caught up to the third heaven or Paradise. Genesis 1:1 says that, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The word heavensare in the plural, and raises a big question: If the abode of God is in the third heaven, where are the first and second heavens? What goes on there?
 

I do not believe that the third heaven is in some distant galaxy.  It is not a physical place such as earth. Some say that the first heaven is the physical heavens of the galaxies, stars, and planets and that the second heaven is the unseen spiritual world that intersects with our planet. There is no way of proving this point purely from Scripture. However, what is clear is that there is an unseen realm that is beyond the five physical senses. Call it what you like, the first or second heaven. I think it is sufficient to understand it as a different dimension of space-time, where, if God were to open our spiritual eyes, like the servant of Elisha, we would see powerful angelic beings, but also, perhaps, evil demonic powers that are seeking to influence us humans to do their bidding.

In another place, Paul the apostle wrote to the Church at Ephesus, warning of a spirit which he calls the prince of the power of the air.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-2). 

 

Who is the prince of the power of the air? Why do you think he is called this? We can logically assume that Paul is talking about the unseen world from where Satan is doing his work of deceiving man. Satan is the one referred to as a spirit with the rank of a prince inhabiting a spiritual dimension of power in “the air,” an atmosphere or realm in which he is active. In another place, Jesus Himself calls him, “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), and the apostle John tells us that the physical world in which we live is under satanic control: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1John 5:19). 

 

Some believe that Satan inhabits a place called hell, but this is not correct according to the Bible. Revelation 12:7-13 tells us of a time that I believe is yet future where there will be a war in the heavenly realms, which Satan will lose and be cast onto Earth:

 

7Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down (Revelation 12:7-10).

The context of the passage indicates that he has been accusing us before God up until this point, which tallies with the passage in Job, which we read earlier. This spiritual realm is the venue of a spiritual battle between God's angelic beings and Satan's demons and princes. The struggle is for supremacy over the Earth and over each person that is born on the planet. There is a war going on for your very soul. Satan wants to keep us in the dark as to his work in trying to destroy your life. He would rather have us ignorant that there is such a battle occurring. His work goes unhindered if a man is unaware of his schemes. He, therefore, seeks to keep you oblivious to the fact that there is a spiritual realm, heaven, and a hell. 

The English author, C.S. Lewis, wrote a book entitled, “The Screwtape Letters.” It is fictional in format, focusing on Christian theological issues, primarily those to do with temptation and resistance to it. In this imaginative book, Lewis writes in the first person as a senior demon named Screwtape, who has been given the task of training a junior demon named Wormwood to keep men and women from finding Christ. If they do come to Christ, then the trainee demon's job is to hinder the Christian's ability to make any difference with their lives in terms of affecting Satan's kingdom. In the preface of his book, Lewis explains his thesis, saying: 

There are two equal and opposite errors into which people can fall about the demons. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist and a magician with the same delight.[2]

On page thirty-one, as the demon Uncle Screwtape, writing to the junior demon Wormwood, he writes, 

I wonder you should ask me whether it is essential to keep the patient (the person that the demon is seeking to destroy) in ignorance of your own existence. That question, at least for the present phase of the struggle, has been answered by the high command. Our policy, for the moment, is to conceal ourselves. Of course, this has not always been so.  We are faced with a cruel dilemma. When people disbelieve in our existence, we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism, and we make no magicians.

On the other hand, when they believe in us, we cannot make them materialists and skeptics…I do not think that you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them), he, therefore, cannot believe in you. [3]

For those who are not believers, Satan would seek by all means possible to keep them from receiving and ultimately responding to God’s Word by believing the gospel. For those of us who are Christians, Satan seeks to keep us blind to the fact of having received God’s power and authority to overcome all the power of the enemy (Mark 16:17-18). Scripture calls Satan the god of this age.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Satan has many strategies of trying to keep you blinded to the gospel and the working of God's power in you and through you to impact this world. We choose by our actions to whom we listen and obey, Satan or the Lord. If we continue to listen to Satan’s voice, with his doubts and unbelief, we will not live fruitful lives for God on this Earth.

Question 4. What methods does Satan use today to blind the minds of unbelievers? Has he used any of these strategies in your life at any time?

 

God’s Protection for His People

 

The Unseen Realm is also a place where God's angels are at work. Balaam was a man who could move into the spiritual realm and place a curse on people. When the Israelite people were traveling from Egypt to the land that God had given them, they had to pass through the country of Moab, whose king was Balak.  He was afraid he would lose any battle against Israel due to the Israelites easy victory over the Amorites. Balak felt that he needed some help to overcome Israel, so he sent for Balaam, the seer, to curse Israel so that he could defeat them. God told Balaam not to go at first, but Balaam would not hear the word no, and he pleaded until God said go, with the restriction that he was only to speak what God would give him.On the way, though, his heart began again to think of the promise of high reward and how he could get it (2 Peter 2:15). In God’s protection of His people, He sent an angel to cut off Balaam’s head. I know it is a weird passage of Scripture, but is it hard to believe that God, the creator of the universe, can allow an animal to speak back to his master as he is hitting him? When the donkey sees the danger of the angel ahead on the path he tries to steer Balaam away crushing his foot in the process. Balaam cannot see the angel and has already beaten his donkey twice by the time we enter the story:

 

26Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or the left. 27When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. 28Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" 29Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now." 30The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" "No," he said. 31Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown (Numbers 22:26-31). 

Balaam was oblivious to what his donkey was doing in saving his life. God opened up the donkey's mouth to show Balaam how his heart was becoming full of greed, and the Lord would not allow His people to be cursed. If he was going to continue in his heart to give in to a spirit of greed, the Lord was ready to give His angel permission to cut off his head. Often, like Balaam, we go headlong into situations in ministry or work where there are unseen spiritual forces at work, and if we are not sensitive spiritually to God, demonic forces can influence us (Matthew 16:23). How merciful the Lord was to speak to Balaam through his donkey. Wouldn't you like to have been a fly on that wall watching the spectacle of Balaam having an angry conversation with his donkey! 

This story is another example of something happening in the unseen realm of which humans (Balaam) were completely unaware. It is interesting to note that the donkey was more aware of the invisible realm than Balaam was. I'm sure all of us who have a dog or a cat have noticed the animal looking around the room looking at something unseen by us. Animals have been known to sense a spiritual presence. It is possible that they are looking at angels that continually watch over us that are walking with the Lord.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them (Psalm 34:7).

Those of us who are born again of God's Spirit are told that God's incomparably great power is available for us to use under God's direction and guidance (Ephesians 1:17-19). Why do we not see more of God's power working in the people of God? The Book of James tells us, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). God waits and longs for His church to move in more of His power.  This need for is what Satan fears more than anything—the church walking in dependence on the Father through prayer.

We need to have a heart that is sensitive to be moved and directed by God as we go about our daily lives. It is so easy to react to situations and beat our donkey rather than asking God as to what He is doing. We turn to blaming and shaming people instead of trying to understand if we are going through something of a spiritual nature. In these days where there are so much occult and demonic activity, we are to listen to the Father. Jesus said, “Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me” (John 6:45). It is possible, even in our noisy world, to listen to what the Father says and learn from Him. When God speaks to our hearts, it always aligns with His word. Jesus was our model in all things. He said,

 

I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Fatherdoing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does (John 5:19).

 

Jesus modeled to us a life laid down to the Father, living in obedience to His will, and seeking to be a blessing to those around Him. That’s why He could say; “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Our difficulty is in knowing and seeing what God is doing in us and around us. The more we can grow in our dependency on God and His Word and Spirit, the more we can overcome what the enemy is seeking to do in our lives, our families, and neighborhoods. 

 

The enemy's main tactics against us are deception and temptation to sin. We must choose the voice to which we will listen and obey, Satan’s or Christ’s. Our God has made it clear that we will have trouble and difficulty as we walk out our lives in spiritual warfare with an enemy that seeks to destroy us, but He has also reminded us that Satan is a defeated foe.

 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33). 

 

Where was Satan defeated? At the cross of Christ! What Satan thought was his most significant victory in taking Christ to the cross was his greatest defeat. He who knew no sin became sin in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross was for us that we sinful human beings might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). By our faith in Christ, we have entered into His victory over Satan. John the Apostle wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work” (1 John 3:8). We who belong to Christ are no longer in bondage to Satan and sin. We are delivered and set free from servitude to dark spiritual forces that are unseen. Paul the Apostle writes, “For he [God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13). There is an unseen world that intersects with this world, but we that belong to Christ are no longer under Satan’s dominion—Christ has overcome him at the Cross. What a triumph, what a Savior! “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18). Let that soak into your spirit!

 

Prayer: Father, I pray that I may have a greater awareness of what you are doing on planet Earth. Let the way I view the world be according to the lens of Your Word and don’t let me be influenced by unseen evil forces that seek my fall. Let Your kingdom come on Earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

2. The Believers Position in Christ

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

It was the year 1900, and Patillo Higgins, a one-armed mechanic and self-taught geologist believed that, in the future, many industries would switch from coal to oil, but from where was all that oil to come? He thought it lay beneath his feet at Spindletop near Houston in Texas. Higgins had a feeling that drilling a well on top of the salt dome that was on his land (and others like it) would produce oil and lots of it. In an attempt to turn his dream into a reality, he turned to Captain Anthony F. Lucas. Captain Lucas had training as an engineer and experience as a salt miner in Louisiana. No one in the area believed that a salt dome structure could produce oil. He picked the spot, and the drilling began on October 27, 1900. After two months of drilling, they got to a depth of 880 feet. Discouraged at finding nothing, they stopped for Christmas. After a Christmas break, they continued drilling and got to 1,020 feet. After withdrawing the bit to change something, they got the bit back down to 700 feet when they noticed mud starting to bubble up to the hole. Seconds later, the drill pipe shot out of the ground with great force, and then, for a short while nothing happened! This result was very confusing. They began wondering what had happened. After several minutes passed, they started cleaning up the mess, when all of a sudden, a loud noise like a cannon shot came from the hole. Mud came shooting up out of the ground like a rocket followed by oil to a height of 150 feet in the air. Lucas was hoping that his well would produce five barrels a day, but it produced 100,000 barrels a day, more than all of the combined oil wells in the whole of the United States. At today’s prices, the oil find is estimated to be worth $11 Billion US dollars. Great riches had been lying under the feet of all those in the area, and they did not know it.[1]

 

In our last study, we talked about dark spiritual forces that inhabit an unseen dimension beyond our senses. They do not like what is being taught you because they hope that it will not enter your consciousness that you stand above great riches, the riches given to you in Christ. They would like you to forget about drilling deep into the Word of God and discovering the authority and power granted you in Christ. Truths about which Satan is trying desperately to keep you in the dark, the riches that Christ has given you through His victory over Satan at the cross of Christ. You can more easily fight a spiritual battle when you are armed with the truth of who you are in Christ and whom He is making you be. The more you value and understand what happened at the cross, the greater will be your ability to resist the enemy and have him flee from you (James 4:7). To explore the topic of knowing our position in Christ Jesus, let's look at a Scripture followed by a question.

 

11God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.13Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding (Acts 19:11-16).

 

Question 1. The sons of Sceva saw demons being cast out easily (v. 12) and thought they could do the same. Why do you think they were unable while Paul had success?

 

The sons of Sceva thought that speaking the name of Jesus and the authority of the name of Christ was enough, but they didn't realize that the demons in the man could see they had no authority because the men were not in Christ. They were not yet born-again and regenerated by the Spirit of God. Unseen demonic spirits that have managed to gain access into a person’s life can see into the invisible spiritual realm as well as the physical realm. Again and again in the Scriptures, when demons in people saw Jesus coming, they fell on the floor, shrieked, shook the person, foamed at the mouth, cried out, or had some manifestation.

 

These men in the passage above tried to exert authority over the spirits, but they had no power because Christ was not living in them. The evil spirits in the man knew they had no authority to cast them out. Authority in the spiritual realm depends on your relationship with Jesus. It’s not what you know; it’s about whom you know! Positional authority is given to a person when he or she is born-again of the Spirit, and Christ dwells within. To exert authority and increase the anointing of the Spirit, the believer needs to act in faith on what has been won for him or her at the cross of Christ. I will endeavor to drill below the surface of things to true spiritual riches. We will learn our true state in the past, who the believer is in the present, and who the believer will be in the future.

 

What We Were in the Past

 

In writing to the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul was passionate that the people of God (i.e., the Church) should know their position in Christ. He starts by writing about their lives before being brought into a relationship with Christ.

 

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:1-5).

 

The Scriptures reveal that there are three parts to our nature, “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians 5:23). Our soul is invisible and is made up of our mind, will and emotions, conscience, etc., but our spirit is that part of our nature that connects with God. Remember the warning that God gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:16b-17). Did Adam fall dead when he and Eve ate the forbidden fruit? No, so what happened to them both? It was their spiritual connection to God that was broken in the Garden and disconnected from the author of life; they became spiritually dead. As a result, Adam and Eve were cut off from God because of their obedience in the garden to the serpent, Satan, the prince of darkness (Revelation 12:9). Adam’s entire race has inherited the default to sin and, with it, separation from God: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).

 

Paul wrote that because of our spirit’s being dead toward God through our sin, we became servants to Satan and lived in slavery to sin. If you are living outside of a relationship with Christ, guess what, Satan is your master, and he is continually at work trying to pollute you and dominate you through habitual sin. Paul wrote: "...when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" (Ephesians 2:2). God needed a champion, one who could conquer him who had the power of death over the human race. But how could that be possible because just one sin would disqualify a man?

 

The One chosen had to be free of sin passed down from Adam to the whole human race. The answer to man’s problem was what God had planned in eternity past—to step into humanity Himself and become a man. He had to be born of a virgin and not of man’s seed. The Holy Spirit came on Mary and the eternal God Himself, in the person of Jesus, stepped into the human race to take upon Himself the accumulated guilt of sin and judgment that man deserved. Wonder of wonders! He took on the forces of darkness manifesting through people—His war was not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), but against spiritual forces in the unseen realm that held us fast by unseen spiritual bonds:

 

14Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Hebrews 2:14-15).

 

Question 2. In what ways does a man's life change when freed from the fear of death? How does being a slave to fear bring bondage?

 

What We Are in the Present

 

When Jesus went to the cross, He was the representative Man, our Substitute, the Righteous One for those of us who are unrighteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). In some mysterious way, that only in eternity will we fully understand, you and I who are believers in Christ hung there on the cross with Jesus. When Christ died, we died with Him. Your release from servitude to Satan took place on the cross when Jesus died for you and as you. Paul, the apostle, explained it by saying, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). In another place, he writes, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). These two Scriptures were written concerning a truth that happened at the cross. If you are a believer, you were placed in Christ Jesus, and His death was your death. You are delivered from Satan's power by the death of Christ. This positional authority is not an experience we have to work hard at trying to be dead; it is a past-completed fact that is to be believed. There is an organic spiritual union between the Christian and Christ, with Jesus saying, “I am the Vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). In the 13 letters of Paul in the New Testament, the apostle uses the phrase, “In Christ” 165 times. I think he's trying to tell us something! John Piper, the theologian, explains this truth in Romans 6:5-6:

 

Now let's confirm this with a few other verses. Verse 6: "Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him." This is another way of saying that we died (verse 2) or that "we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death" (verse 5). Notice that while verse 6 says the "old self" (=old man) was crucified, verses 2 and 5 say "we died" and "we were united to him in the likeness of his death." I take this to mean that my "old self" is me – but different than I have become. The "old self" is the me that was rebellious against God, and insubordinate to God's law, and blind to God's glory, and unbelieving toward his promises. Verse 6 says the "old me" was crucified with Christ. (See Galatians 2:20.) When Christ died, God counted the old sinful me as dying with him.[2]

 

Other riches are opened up to us when we drill further into the Scriptures:

 

6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:6-10).

 

You may notice that we are told that when Christ was raised, because of our union with Him, the Church, the called–out of–the–world believers, are raised, too, and we are seated with Him in the heavenly realms. It is in these unseen realms; what Scripture calls the heavenly realms that the riches below the surface have spurted up to us. In the first chapter of his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul writes that God “has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). These truths the enemy does not want you to understand, but they are not idle fabrications. They are spiritual truths that need to seep into your soul and be worked out in your life. You no longer have to live according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, but you are to be led by obedience to the Spirit of Christ. If you are a believer, the gates of hell should shudder when the enemy sees you coming. Indeed, the sons of Sceva should be looking on you with envy at the authority that lies on you and in you. It has always been God’s plan to amaze the angels, both dark and light, as well as every evil ruler and authority in the spiritual realm throughout all time and eternity:

 

9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:9-11).

 

Question 3. Discuss what God uses to display His wisdom, how was that wisdom displayed and accomplished, and to whom?

 

What We Shall Be in the Future

 

God has a purpose, and even when the enemy would seek to sabotage and disrupt, God still has the last word. The end of the story has already been determined and written ahead of time to encourage us. God is the author of all things, the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and End. There is nothing that can happen that God does not anticipate.  Nothing takes Him by surprise, and He already knows just how to work all things together in your life for good. God sees you already in your completed state. The limitation of time does not bind him as it does us. It is God who has initiated the work in you, and He is also the One who will finish it. Because of the finished work Christ accomplished on the cross, you are ALREADY seated with Christ. Our reconciliation is complete.
 

 

Why is it essential that you understand who you are as a believer? It is not only for your benefit, helping you to overcome in your own day-to-day life, but also for your prayer life. Understanding the spiritual riches, you are given in Christ will radically change the effectiveness of prayers that you pray. If you know you are praying following God's will, and you know that the Father will not deny the Son, why would you think that God would withhold anything from you? (Romans 8:32). Our faith, or lack of it, is directly linked to our understanding of who we are in Christ. Some people feel that to pray with authority; there has to be a noise volume or a particular tone of voice. While the Holy Spirit may lead a believer to pray a certain way, the authority, I believe, comes from the legal reality of what happened at the cross and our understanding of it. It is when we understand what Christ has done, and we proclaim it, that we can learn how to be overcomers in prayer. Our faith and prayer life are directly connected to how we see ourselves in the Father’s eyes.

 

Question 4. What keeps you from coming boldly to God’s throne of grace? Do you ever find a battle in your mind when you are praying? What types of thoughts hinder your faith?

 

The Legal Battle and the Legal Truth.

 

Jesus has been given all authority in the unseen heavenly realm and on earth, and by our organic union to Him, He has commissioned us to go and make disciples, not just converts, of all nations (Matthew 28:18-19). He is our High Priest representing us before the Father:

 

But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12).

 

He sat down because He completed the work. It is a finished work, so He took His place at the right hand of the Father, and we are seated in heavenly places with Him (Colossians 2:12) because of the finished work of the cross.

 

If only we could have seen beyond the veil of the flesh in the Garden of Gethsemane, what would we have seen, I wonder? What delight the enemy forces were in, I feel sure, when the rulers and elites screamed for Barabbas instead of Christ. Can you imagine their satisfaction and squeals of delight at every stripe that fell upon our Champion’s back? He endured the shame and spitting by looking forward and seeing us sitting with Him in heavenly places. To most people of this world, what happened at the cross of Christ looked like a defeat for the Kingdom of God. The enemy, I’m sure, was self-deceived into thinking he was winning, but he was signing his death certificate.

 

Now, if you are like me, you may have wondered at some point, “Why didn’t God just take Satan captive and kill him?”  Satan had a legal claim to this world before the cross. This legality was due to the fall of man when man chose the knowledge of good and evil over his relationship with God. It was at this point that man abdicated his authority; the authority initially was given him in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:26, 28). The fall of man affected man’s rulership and authority that was rightfully his in the beginning. God would not go over man's head and take authority of this earth back by force. He has bound Himself to His divine order. We look at this world, and we do not see order. We see chaos. That is because Satan is not yet bound.

 

His ultimate end has not yet been realized, but in God's divine order, there is peace. What the Father did in sending His Son was to pay the penalty for sin legally. You see when Jesus bowed His head and declared, “It is finished,” Satan was defeated. He had become a murderer from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, but now he had taken an innocent life, a life that he did not legally own since there was no fault found in Jesus. Before Judas departed from the table at the Last Supper, Satan entered him. The Lord knew what was going to happen. He said to Judas, “What you do, do quickly” (John 13:27). Satan planned to destroy Jesus, but the death of Jesus canceled all of Satan's claims upon humankind.

 

Although the war continues, the outcome is already determined. One day, we will see the final judgment of Satan; his end is already decided, but not fully completed. When Jesus took His rightful place on the throne next to the right hand of the Father, He proved without a doubt that He had overcome Satan, and we are seated with Him in the heavenly realms. Not only has Jesus defeated Satan, but in Him and through His power and life, we also are called to overcome and triumph over all the works of the evil one.

 

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11).

 

Now, there are two parts that we see mentioned in the Revelation passage above where it speaks of overcoming or triumphing over this world and demonic forces. One is the Blood of the Lamb, the substitutionary death of Christ. Jesus is that spotless Lamb of God, the sacrifice for our sin. The second part was that they (believers) overcame him by the word of their testimony. We believe in our heart that Jesus is Lord and that He died for our sins, but we must also confess with our mouths the truth of God's Word. We are crucified with Christ, buried with Him (as symbolized in baptism), raised with Him, and enthroned with Him: “It is a faithful saying: For if we are dead with him, we shall also live with him." (2 Timothy 2:11).

 

Paul E. Billheimer, in his book Destined for the Throne, examines the truth of being crucified with Christ. He states:

 

We are not surprised that He is exalted and enthroned in the heavens. What is difficult for us to comprehend is that we also are exalted with Him. If "he that is joined to the Lord is one with Him in spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17), it cannot be otherwise. We are not surprised that all things have been put under His feet. What we have failed to comprehend is that as part of Him, His Body, all things are also legally beneath our feet. What we do not realize is that He is the “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). This means that His headship over all things is assumed and held for the benefit of the Church and is directed toward His purpose for her.[3]

 

We have underestimated the supreme importance of the Church in God's economy.  She is the motive of all His activity from all eternity. He does nothing solely for His own sake. She (the Church) is included as a full partner in all His plans. The Church is His Body, the fullness of Him that fills all things everywhere. This is only true because of God’s voluntary self-limitation. In the absolute, God is wholly sufficient. He needs nothing and can be served by no one. Yet He has chosen voluntarily to limit Himself so that the Church share in His reign. It is true that the Body cannot function without the Head. It is just as true that the Head, by His own choice, will not function without the Body. Both are important to the accomplishment of His plan.[4]

 

Until Christ comes again, the Bride of Christ, the Church, is in training. The enemy is still fighting a strategy of “guerrilla warfare," but the result will not change. Satan is defeated, and the knowledge of Christ’s victory over Satan is advancing all over the world. We must continually remind ourselves of who we are in Christ if we are to be effective in prayer. How do we fight? It starts in our thought life; this is where the battle begins. Remind yourself of your identity. You are accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). You hold the same place in the Father’s bosom as Christ does (John 17:22-26). You have His righteousness. It is as good as the righteousness of Christ in the eyes of the Father because it is HIS righteousness. All that God allows the enemy to do is all used to show forth the marvelous grace of God for all eternity.

 

Doctor Donald Grey Barnhouse once told the story of a particular man who had a beautiful estate upon which were some magnificent trees in which this man took great pride. It was his custom to walk amongst the trees and gaze upon their beauty. This man had an enemy who hated him sorely; this enemy was always seeking ways of annoying the master of the estate.  At last, the enemy conceived a plan, which he thought would significantly wound the heart of the proprietor.  He decided to go to the estate in the dark of the night and cut down one of the most beautiful of the trees. He laid his plans well.  He took with him an ax and saw, and he began his work. All night he toiled until his muscles were sore and his hands were blistered. As morning dawned, he saw the proprietor riding with a companion toward the trees where he had been toiling. He redoubled his efforts, and with all that he could, he worked as diligently as he was able to do so, and the great tree began to creak and to totter. As it gained momentum in the fall, the enemy began to shout in triumph. One of the branches, however, came toward him and pinned him to the ground in agony. His hatred, however, was intense, and he jeered at the proprietor who approached him. The owner of the estate called his companion to him and said to the enemy, "You thought to do me great harm, but I want to show you what you have done. This man with me is the architect of a beautiful home that I intend to build here in the midst of these trees. To make room for the house, it was necessary to cut down one of these trees. Look at this plan. The tree upon which you have toiled all night and which is now the cause of your death is the tree, which must be cut down to make room for my house. You have worked for me without knowing it, and your toil is for nothing, and bitterness is your food in death.”

 

Satan thinks he is so smart in his opposition to you, but when we finally get home, we will see that all that the enemy did was used by God to beautify the garden of Christ. If God is for us, who can be against us!

3. Know Your Enemy

The War Against Satan and Demons

When World War One broke out, the War Ministry in London, England, sent a coded message to one of the British outposts in the inaccessible areas of British controlled Africa, saying, "War declared, arrest all enemy aliens in your district." The prompt reply came back, "Have arrested ten Germans, six Belgians, four Frenchmen, two Italians, three Austrians, and an American. Please advise immediately who we are at war with."

In this study, we will take a closer look at Satan and the demonic forces against which the Church is waging war. We need to know who the enemy is and his schemes if we are to be successful in the fight against him. In the book, The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu, he said, “If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”[1] If that is true of earthly wars, even more so is it true of the spiritual fight that every Christian is involved.

Spiritual Warfare

In the last two studies, we saw that there are very real unseen enemies and a battle in which we are engaged, whether we realize it or not. We also began to see who we are and the authority and power that God has given us through the cross of Christ. The Lord has not left us unequipped for this battle. He has given us all that we need to take our place in the fight and be victorious against our foe. As Christians, we are called to wage war against the enemy whether we see ourselves as spiritual warriors or not. If we are to fulfill the Great Commission to preach the gospel to the world and to make disciples of all nations, we will have opposition. Although there are different gifts and callings in the Body of Christ, we are all drawn into this cosmic conflict and called to be overcomers, victorious with Christ. No one is left out of the battle.

Question 1. How do we practically align ourselves with Christ in the battle? Can you think of ways that you are doing battle day by day?

3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We, the church, have been given spiritual weapons. These weapons are not guns and bombs, swords, and pistols; they are not weapons of the world. We cannot fight a spiritual war against unseen spiritual beings with weapons of the world. Our weapons have divine power to demolish strongholds or fortifications of the enemy. Paul, the apostle, sees the Christian as advancing on enemy fortifications where he is firmly entrenched. The church of God is on the attack!

 

Empowered by our God, the Church is not deterred at the seemingly impregnable walls and the size and power of the enemy. The bastions of sin and error are battered down. Every knee shall bow to our God! We should not think that these strongholds of the mind, different philosophies of thought set up by our enemy in distant lands, are our only opposition. We don't have to look far to see that in our own country, in our own family, and our minds, there have been fortifications set up by teachings that we have received and, at the time we received them, we were oblivious to the destructive capability against our soul.
 

Where are these strongholds? In 1970, cartoonist Walt Kelly famously made a poster with the slogan, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” If we are unaware of the battle in the area of our mind, we will find it difficult to stand against our enemy. Be careful of your thought life. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). Your heart, a picture of the central core of your inner life, your spirit, is guarded by your mind. Be careful of the images that Satan would like to sow into the good soil of your heart. Take captive every thought that arises in opposition to the truth of God’s Word.

Does that mean we should never fight with guns and bullets against evil men that rise to destroy us? Should we only pray? No, if we had never resisted Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany, demonic evil forces would have gained control over nations, taken away our religious freedoms, and sought to end the worship of God in every place where that evil regime took hold in this world. The church is called to intercessory prayer to overcome the spiritual forces that oppose the forward movement of the church to preach the Gospel to every creature. In any battle with an enemy, one should always seek to know his enemy. Knowing the enemy’s plans and schemes will help us to overcome him.

Satan’s Hierarchy of Evil

Inhabiting this unseen spiritual realm that intersects with Earth are at least four different categories of spiritual beings that are at war against God’s creation and kingdom:

 

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.12For 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 (Ephesians 6:10-12).

 

Paul the Apostle was careful that the Church is aware against whom we are fighting. He tells us of four categories of evil beings. First of all, though, he says that we are to stand against the devil’s schemes or methods (v.11). As in American Football, the coach is standing beside the field with his playbook. Through his hierarchy of evil, Satan is continually trying different plays against you, although we should not call them "plays." There is nothing playful about his strategies and schemes. He observes your weaknesses and attacks you in such areas.

 

There is a fable that Satan's agents were failing in their various attempts to draw into sin a holy man who lived as a hermit in the desert of northern Africa. Every effort had met with failure; so Satan, angered with the incompetence of his subordinates, became personally involved in the case. He said, "the reason you have failed is that your methods are too crude for one such as this. Watch this." He then approached the holy man with great care and whispered in his ear, "your brother has just been made Bishop of Alexandria." Instantly the holy man's face showed that Satan had been successful: a great scowl formed over his mouth and his eyes tightened up. "Envy," said Satan, "is often our best weapon against those who seek holiness."[2]

 

Do not underestimate the knowledge that he and his evil angels and demons have gained over thousands of years as they have watched people go about their daily lives. He knows how the human mind thinks. Remember, Satan is not limited to an earthly life of seventy or so years; he has been at this from the very beginning.

 

The word translated into English as struggle (v.12) is the Greek word palē, which means to wrestle swaying back and forth. It carries the thought of two individuals in hand-to-hand combat, each trying different maneuvers to pin the other into submission. Paul says that our struggle or wrestling is not against flesh and blood. People are never our enemy. The enemy will use people against us when given an opportunity, but the Christian is not to retaliate against that person. It is not flesh and blood that we fight against; the fight is against unseen spiritual forces in the heavenly realms. Being aware of these things is essential for us to understand. In the church, your brother (or sister) is never your enemy. See opposition for what it is. The REAL battle is with the enemy of our souls. The Lord will give you the strategy to overcome evil with good. Ask God for His plan.

 

John the Apostle wrote:

 

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).

 

I take it that John is saying that Satan has so structured his evil forces that countries, regions, towns, villages, and yes, even people, have some level of enemy personality at work to control what goes on under each enemy sphere of influence. In referencing the whole world under the control of Satan, John the Apostle is talking about the world system that is set up by Satan against God. Those of us who are walking with Christ is out from his authority and control (Colossians 1:13). The only way he can influence us is in the area of our minds if we will allow him. Let’s now take a closer look at the Greek words used by Paul to describe the four categories of evil spoken of in Ephesians 6:12:

 

1) The Rulers. The Greek word used by Paul is Archē. This word means principalities or chief rulers. It speaks of beings of the highest-ranking in Satan’s kingdom. The word also implies beginning—perhaps those angels colluding with Satan in his rebellion against God. This word speaks of dark angels of a position so high that these spiritual rulers confer with Satan himself and rule over nations and geographical territories to bring about the goals of these enemies of God. We can compare them to Hitler’s top men that formed the Nazi Party before the Second World War, men that sat down with Hitler, and took action to dominate most of Europe. In the book of Daniel, there is an example of an evil spiritual prince that ruled over the whole territory of Persia. I believe that every nation has an evil prince such as the one mentioned.

The context of the passage is that of an angel of God sent to the prophet Daniel to help him understand a revelation given to the nation of Israel (Daniel 10:1). He spent time in partial fasting and prayer for twenty-one days while he sought the Lord for the understanding of the vision, referenced in chapter eleven. An evil spiritual ruler called the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted and delayed the angel in getting the answer to Daniels prayer through the unseen realm to Daniel. Finally, the good angel gets through to Daniel and speaks to him:

 

12Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Daniel 10:12-13).

 

Question 2. This passage of Scripture says that, in this case, an answer to prayer was delayed by an evil spiritual being with the rank of a prince. Do you think that a delay in response to prayer has happened to you? Share your thoughts and examples.

 

The Scripture says that the evil prince's dominion was over the geographical area of Persia, now present-day Iran. It was only after the archangel Michael intervened that the angel got through to Daniel with the message for which he was waiting. Since the cross and the giving of the Spirit to the church, the Church is given authority to resist and oppose evil spiritual forces through cooperating with God in prayer. That spirit is still there in Iran, whispering into the ears of those in power to do what it can to destroy American and Jewish people and those that serve the God of Israel. The leaders of Iran were held under the domination of an evil angel, the Persian prince who exerts control in that part of the world through thoughts, philosophies, and religion.

 

2) The Authorities. The Greek word is Exousia. This word means authority. It is delegated authority from higher up the chain of command (Matthew 8:9). It speaks of a spirit that is given permission, capability, right, and authority to act. Using the analogy of Hitler's men, this would be like his generals directing the field of battle, men who were given commands from above, and exercised that authority on the battlefield. These evil spirits take their orders from those that are high in Satan's chain of command. They apply their power by fear of death and domination through sin and ignorance of Satan's ways. Perhaps, an “authority” would be a spirit that holds sway over a city in which collectively a body of people have given themselves to a particular deception or sin by an evil spirit “authority” that exerts its hold, an evil spirit such as Moroni, the spirit that spoke to Joseph Smith and started Mormonism. A spirit such as this uses religious deception and holds sway over the city of Salt Lake City in Utah. Such a strong spirit could also be a “principality.” It is difficult to know. It is wise for the church in a city or town to research for what the city is known to understand how to engage the spirit over an area. One should then seek God’s wisdom and guidance in pulling down the stronghold or spiritual fortification for which the city is known. It is not enough to pray against a spirit, but effective spiritual warfare is waged by doing acts that are the opposite of how the evil spirit's control is manifested in the city. Our actions themselves are useful in combat. In simple obedience, we are fighting the good fight when we live our lives going against the flow of the evil one.

 

3) The Powers of this Dark World. This phrase has the Greek word Kosmokratōr. The first part of the word is kosmos, translated into English as “world.” The second half of the word is krateō, which means "to hold." It reads, "world holders of this dark world." The picture is of evil spirits that hold the physical world under the grip of darkness by an assault on the mind. I believe that Satan has given these spirits charge over belief systems that tie men’s minds to religious works, false gods, and systems of thought that are opposed to the worship of the Lord. These spirits don't so much control territory; their influence is mostly through systems of thought that dominate people's minds to demonic influence. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

 

Question 3. How do you think these spirits manifest themselves on planet Earth?  Of what examples can you imagine?

 

These spirits promote belief systems such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Communism, Secular Humanism, to name just a few. The evil spiritual powers also use men and women in educational fields, men such as Charles Darwin with the Theory of Evolution. They also work in the cultures of nations, such as the gaming industry that are driving young people ever deeper into darkness. Then, there is the movie industry in Hollywood, promoting ever-increasing incremental stages of fear and sex. There is also the music industry. You don't have to search extensively on Google or YouTube to find examples of musicians who have sold their souls to the devil for success and notoriety. Then, there are religious spirits that bind people to try to earn salvation in the Christian religion or Islam, or Buddhism, instead of receiving the gift of life from Christ. Religious spirits are very powerful and deceptive. These spirits hold a lot of people all over the world in bondage, trying to please God by religious works. Paul wrote further about the influence of these particular spirits, the dark world powers when he wrote his second letter to the church at Corinth:

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

 

Satan himself (the god of this age) is the one accused of blinding people’s minds, but I tend to believe that he is the one directing the powers of this dark world that influence people’s minds. 

 

4) The Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Realms. These can be compared to your basic foot soldiers. These spiritual forces are demons of varying lower ranks that oppose and obstruct men and women from searching and finding the truth in this world. These demons target not only non-Christians but also hinder the spiritual growth of God’s people after they commit their lives to Christ. Every man or woman of God, I believe, is plagued by a demonic spirit continually looking for ways to weaken and destroy the testimony of the believer. The principal weapon of these forces of evil is to sow destructive thoughts in the seedbed of people's minds. Negative evil thoughts, if we allow them to, can germinate and grow and become attitudes and habits designed to enslave people and bring them into bondage to Satan. The higher the level of influence you have in the Kingdom of God, the higher the rank and cleverness of the evil spirit assigned to you. The enemy also assesses your potential to damage his kingdom. If he thinks that you are a threat to the realm of darkness, he will oppose you to stop you from ever becoming a challenge. If you have ever had it in your heart to be a warrior for God, don’t be surprised if Satan comes at you with strategies to try to weaken your potential and hamstring your walk before you get to run for God. Be strong in the power of God’s might, not your own—pray through every opposition to your growth in Christ. Be diligent in the things of God.

 

Some attacks may be more than thoughts, and they can go deeper into oppression. You cannot stop the birds of the air flying about your head, but you can prevent them from making a nest in your hair. If we buy into the thoughts and mull over them, they can become feelings, such as depression, discouragement, frustration, bitterness, and resentment among many other things. You may find that the enemy's strategies of attack against you may change, as you grow older and more mature in Christ. I saw that in my early days as a Christian, the enemy would plant a thought, such as “You don’t really believe in God, do you?” As I got older, that thought would no longer come to me, for the enemy knew he was wasting his time sowing that seed thought. I had come to a stable, logical, Bible-centered belief that there must be a God ruling and reigning over the Earth. I had thoroughly searched and weighed the evidence and come to reliable conclusions on which to base my faith.

 

Question 4. Have you ever been aware of spiritual warfare in your Christian life? How have you been effective in overcoming negative thoughts?

 

A Disarmed Enemy

You may not be aware of being in a battle, but let me assure you, if you are a disciple of Christ endeavoring to do God's will on planet Earth, you are in a fight whether you like it or not (2 Timothy 3:12). Some expositors believe that Revelation 12:4 indicates that Satan has won over to his side a third of the stars of heaven. The belief is that the stars are angelic beings that are now called demons. I don’t know if that is the proper interpretation of that passage, but I do believe that there are a multitude of demons that inhabit the unseen realm. They are structured in such a way to do the maximum damage that they can to the Kingdom of God. We need not fear these demons and evil spirits sent against us because Christ has triumphed over them by the cross.

 

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).

 

The Word of God is very plain about the power that lies within those who are born-again of the Spirit. The Scripture says, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Who is in us? Christ Jesus has taken up residence in our hearts when we receive the gift of eternal life. In a later session, we will look at the authority and power Christ has given us to frustrate the plans of the evil one. “I have given you the authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19). Peter assures us in his first letter that Christ has conquered all the power of the enemy and sat down alongside the Father in the throne room, and enemy powers are under His feet.

 

Who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him (1 Peter 3:22 emphasis mine).

 

Good angels were already subject to Him before His victory at Calvary’s tree. The angels mentioned in the above passage are evil angels. We have learned that this world system is influenced by demonic forces under the control of Satan and that they influence what happens in the world by using flesh and blood individuals. What is the church to do against such forces? In some way that I cannot fully explain, you and I who are Christians are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ, even though at the same time we are walking on this Earth. Christ is sitting on the throne far above every authority, power, and dominion, and because of our relationship to Christ, we also are seated with Him, exercising His authority in the world through prayer. Paul explains this place of authority in these words:

 

18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,5and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far 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. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way (Ephesians 1:18-23).

 

6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6-7).

 

How do we become useful in our fight against the evil one? How do we become a formidable force in the kingdom of God? We have established that every one of us is amid a spiritual battle whether we are aware of this or not. Also, we know that we have been given the authority in Christ and the powerful weapon of prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. There are some basic 101 principles we need to be aware of to be effective.

 

  1. Know who you are in Christ. Are you convinced of the authority of Christ? Don't try and wage warfare in your strength. Rely on His power and take direction from the Holy Spirit.
     

  2. We are to agree with the Word of God. In this world, you will find that it is becoming more and more unpopular to live your life in obedience to the Word of God. The Word of God is consistent, and it does not change. The truth that is in God's Word should shape our thinking and our decisions. Learn the truth in God's Word, and in applying that truth, you will find yourself on the right side of the spiritual conflict, regardless of what others think of you. God’s Word, Scripture tells us, is powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). We will talk more about this later.
     

  3. Agree with the Holy Spirit quickly. Every time you exercise self-control instead of losing your temper, every time you choose to forgive instead of harboring bitterness, and every time you decide to consider other’s needs before your own and make unselfish decisions, you are training yourself for battle and becoming a formidable warrior. You cannot fight the enemy while at the same time giving him ground in your own life. If, however, you are aware of the battle in your mind and your own life and are submitting to the Lordship of Christ, you will grow in your ability to exercise Christ's authority and be effective in seeing the Kingdom of God made manifest in our world and overcoming the enemy.
     

  4. See the possibilities. What areas of your life do you see the enemy infiltrating? Do you need to be more active in this spiritual battle for members of your family or friends? The enemy would seek to blind us to possibilities or make us think that we have to accept the way things are, but if we look at things from God’s perspective and in agreement with His Word, we can start to do battle in these situations! Do not accept defeat, but allow God to enlarge your vision of what He wants to do in your life! Ask God to help you see the possibilities and exercise your faith in Him and His Word to see a change in your own life, your family, and beyond. The forward advance of God’s will and purpose is warfare, and God is for you!  Every time you draw close to the battle lines in prayer, you are waging war. The beautiful thing is that we can proclaim the victory Christ has already won on our behalf.  If God is for us, who can be against us?  

 

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the work of Christ on the cross in delivering me from Satan's dominion. Grant me a growing sense of the power and authority that I have been given to overcome and resist the enemy's attacks on the lives of my family, my friends, and myself. Amen

4. The Fallen Angels

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

Our study today is on the topic of The Fallen Angels. So far, we have looked into the unseen world that is beyond the five senses. Then, we talked about the victory that was won on behalf of the believer in Christ by the Lord Jesus, and last time, we began to expose who our enemy is. We looked at the four categories of evil beings against us, but it is possible that Paul's list in Ephesians 6:12 was not comprehensive. We are told in 1 Peter 5:8 that we are to be sober and vigilant because our adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Today, nothing has changed. His agenda is still the same. Jesus spoke of the enemy's strategy when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Our focus in this study is to understand how the enemy has tried to corrupt humanity and how Christ has provided restoration. Regardless of the enemy's schemes, we know how the story ends! We know that Christ is victorious. Since we are still here in this present evil world, we need to be vigilant and aware. Until Christ comes again, we are in a battle. We will have difficulty fighting an enemy that we don't understand. Even more importantly, we are to be aware of the weapons God has given us to overcome evil with good. Just as Satan seeks to corrupt, our God continues to restore and create. This war between Light and Darkness has been fought from the very beginning.
 

The Corruption from the Beginning

When John the Apostle wrote that Satan has been sinning from the beginning (1 John 3:8), what did he mean by the “beginning?”  In his book, The Depravity of Man, A.W. Pink writes about how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden before the Fall of Man. He has an interesting view concerning the King James translation of Psalm 49:12, “Nevertheless man being in honor abideth not:"

 

In Psalm 49:12, the Hebrew word for "man" is Adam – the same as in Genesis 2 and 3 and Job 31:33, while that for "abode" signifies "to stay or lodge for a night." Manton rendered it "Adam being in honor abideth not for a night." And Thomas Watson, in his book, Body of Divinity, said, "Adam, then, it seems, did not take up one night’s lodging in Paradise." Fourth, the devil "was a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44)—not from the beginning of time, for there was no man to slay during the first five days, but from the beginning of human history. In the morning,  man was holy; by night he was a sinner![1]

 

Satan was quick to corrupt our forefather and mother, even before they had any progeny conceived in absolute purity with whom he would also have to deal. The war was on! There in the Garden of Eden, God pronounced the gospel in advance to Adam and Eve with these words:

 

14So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly, and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).

 

Appearing in the form of a serpent, Satan, a fallen angel, tempted Adam to obey him rather than hold to God's instructions. Immediately, the sentence against the enemy was pronounced. God will not allow this dominion of Satan over Man to go on for eternity. He spoke of One whom He would send to break the servitude on man to Satan. God spoke of enmity between the seed of the woman (The Messiah) and those who are given over to serve Satan: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel means God With Us. This incarnation of God into the earth is one of the reasons why the eternal Son of God had to become a man—because it was the offspring of the woman who would crush Satan. The Seed of the woman is the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are born-again of the Spirit and brought into oneness with Christ (John 17:21-23), these are they spoken of as getting the victory over Satan in the Book of Revelation. “They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11). Although Satan would strike the heel of Christ, speaking of what would happen at the cross, but through Christ's work, the head of Satan would be crushed. God said that there would be enmity between the seed of the woman on God’s side and a seed of the serpent on the evil side—this war that is being fought right up to the present day.

 

Question 1). Why did the enemy corrupt rather than destroy right from the beginning? Is corruption different from destruction? What does Satan want to accomplish?

 

After being given this sentence, the enemy began to plot how he would hinder the coming of the Seed of the Woman. There is a limit to the authority that Satan has. In the Garden, the enemy had to gain access by getting an agreement with the first Adam. He sought to corrupt the inner character of humanity. He planned to pollute the human race and to taint and blemish the human species from ever being a fit temple for the Holy Son of God to be born of flesh. After the first initial attack by Satan in the Garden of Eden, not knowing when the Son of God was to be born of a virgin, he sent evil angels to corrupt the seed of the woman trying to preempt the birth of Christ.
 

1When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown (Genesis 6:1-4).

 

The Hebrew term translated “sons of God” is B’nai HaElohim, a term widely used in the Old Testament for angels. This Hebrew phrase is what is used in the Book of Job when the B’nai HaElohim, translated as angels (NIV), or sons of God (KJV) presented themselves before God with Satan being among them accusing Job of wrong motives in his righteousness (Job 1:6-10, 2:1). It is worth remembering that Adam, as a created being, was also called a son of God (Luke 3:38).

 

The Interlinear Hebrew Bible (IHN) gives us an interesting translation. Where the King James Bible says, “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair,” the IHN translation words it in this way, “The [b’nai ha Elohim] saw the daughters of Adam, that they were fit extensions" (emphasis added). It is possible that Moses (the writer of the Book of Genesis), under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is explaining that the watching fallen angelic beings saw that they could enter our plane of existence. Their attack consisted of mixing their genetic material with pure human stock to corrupt the human race with hybrid genetic material, knowing that the Lord had spoken that:

 

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15 New International Version).

 

Perhaps, these evil fallen angels thought that, if they could corrupt the Genetic makeup of Homo sapiens, then the Messiah, the Seed of the woman, would not be able to be born into the world. “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me” (Hebrews 10:5). If Christ could not come, the fallen human race would stay under the dark bondage of Satan.

 

The apocryphal Book of Enoch also clearly speaks of evil angels coming and manifesting into the earth sphere. This book was not considered as part of the canon of Scripture, but both Rabbi's and early Christian Pastors, scholars, and teachers from about 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. venerated it to study the accepted beliefs of the period. The Ethiopian Coptic Church holds the Book of Enoch as part of its official spiritual canon. Second and third -century church fathers, such as Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Origin, and Clement of Alexandria, all seemed to have accepted Enoch as authentic. Tertullian (160-230 A.D.) even called the Book of Enoch, “Holy Scripture.”[2] Enoch gives a name to the angels that descended onto the earth calling them "Watchers." Here's what Enoch wrote:

 

And I Enoch was blessing the Lord of majesty and the King of the ages, and lo! the Watchers called me—Enoch the scribe—and said to me: “Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto themselves wives: Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth: And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children [the Nephilim], the murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall you not attain” (Enoch 12:3-6).[3]

 

The Book of Daniel also has three references to “watcher angels” (Daniel 4:13, 17, 23 KJV and ESV). Strong’s Concordance defines a watcher as a “guardian angel” (Strong’s 5894). In two of the occasions that Daniel mentions the watchers, he was careful to note that it was a “holy one,” suggesting that some watcher angels are not holy ones. The NIV translates it as messenger. Enoch mentions that two hundred[4] of these powerful angels departed "high heaven" and used women to extend into the plane of existence of humanity.

Why Would Satan and the Evil Fallen Angels Want to Corrupt the Human Race?


At this point, there is a question that one is forced to ask—why would Satan and a band of angels with him depart heaven and rebel against God? It is a possibility that they did not like being tasked by God with the job of taking care of God’s crowning creation—Man? Satan seemed acutely aware of the Scripture that he quoted to Christ in the third temptation in the wilderness:

 

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully;
11they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’” (Luke 4:9-11).

 

Was this promise from Psalm 91:11 for the human race or just for the Messiah? I believe it to be a promise that angels in the unseen realm will watch over the people of God, those who have entered into a blood covenant with Him. We have already read in the previous study of the five “I Will” statements of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12-14, that this fallen angel, Satan, perhaps did not like the fact that all angels were to serve the heirs of salvation.

 

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

 

Instead of serving humanity, Satan decided that he would bring about a rebellion and tempt Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden into rebelling against God and obeying him rather than God. Satan knew the principle about which Paul wrote in the book of Romans:

 

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16).

 

This is why Satan could say to Jesus when he took Him up to a high mountain and showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to (Luke 4:6). It is worth noting that Jesus did not respond to Satan’s claim of dominion over the kingdoms and with it the people of the earth. If Satan had been incorrect, don’t you think that Jesus would have responded? Instead, Jesus quoted the Word of God, saying, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only’” (Luke 4:8).

 

The first century A.D. Jewish historian, Josephus Flavius, also represents this view of many angels leaving heaven at the same time, probably at the same time that Satan won mastery over humanity when Adam chose to be obedient to Satan. The first-century historian, Josephus writes the fallen angels in the following way:

 

They made God their enemy; for many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength, for the tradition is that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants.[5]

 

Josephus also mentions the ancient biblical Amorites that lived around Hebron. “In Hebron, there were still then left the race of giants, who had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from other men, that they were surprising to the sight and terrible to the hearing. The bones of these men are still shown to this very day" (Josephus Ant. 5.2.3).

 

Back to Genesis 6, verse 4 speaks of the Nephilim were on the Earth in those days. The King James Version translated Nephilim as giants. The Nephilim were the children born from the ungodly relationship between angels and the daughters of humans. The word Nephilim is from the Hebrew word nephal, which means, “to fall,” so it means, "fallen ones." When the Old Testament was translated into Greek (The Septuagint Translation) in the third century before Christ, the Hebrew word Nephilim was translated into Greek with the word Gigantes, which means, “earth-born.”

 

Question 2). What was the reason for the Great Flood of Noah’s day? If it was just because of the wickedness of their sin, what makes us any better in our day? Why would God want to wipe out all of His creation except for eight individuals and an ark full of animals?

 

What was the Effect of the Evil Incursion?

 

Notice what the Bible says about the outcome of the mingling of the seed of the fallen angels with the daughters of Homo sapiens:

 

5The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7So the LORD said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. 9This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth (Genesis 6:5-13).

 

In verse 9, we read that Noah was righteous and blameless. This word translated blameless is the Hebrew word tamiym. It means, “Without blemish, sound, healthful, without spot, unimpaired.” It is used to describe a lack of physical blemish. The use of this word is suggesting that Noah did not have the same genetic difference that the majority of the population of the Earth had. Noah had no tarnished genetic changes brought about by the invasion or incursion into the human species by the fallen angels. This passage, I believe, teaches us that the reason for the flood was God’s protection of His creation of pure genetic stock. The only ones not tainted was Noah’s family.

 

Other passages in the Scriptures describe this attack by fallen angels on the creation of God:

 

19After being made alive, he [Christ] went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water (1 Peter 3:19-20).

 

6And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire (Jude 6-7).

 

Writers Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman write about the word translated dwelling in the NIV or habitation in the KJV in the above verses from the Book of Jude:

 

“It is interesting that the word translated “habitation” [Proper dwelling in the NIV), oiketerion, refers to the heavenly bodies from which they had disrobed. This term appears only twice in the New Testament, each time referring to the body as a dwelling place for the spirit (2 Corinthians 5:2 is the other place). The “giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh” seems to have involved their leaving their earlier “first estate,” that is, the body which they were initially “clothed with.”[6]

 

Scripture tells us that the Nephilim (the progeny of the illicit relationship, otherwise known as the fallen ones), were on the earth in the days of Noah, but also after the flood.

 

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward (Genesis 6:4).

 

Question 3). Why do you think that Moses (the writer of the Book of Genesis) adds the word, “and also afterward?” To what could he be referring?

 

It is a thought that, perhaps, the Greek mythological gods, such as Titan, Hercules, Poseidon, Hermes, Europa, Zeus, etc., were these Nephilim that Scripture mentions. From just a biblical point of view, we have many records in the Scriptures of men of extraordinary size. For instance, there was the mention of Og, King of Bashan, the only one left of the Rephaites. His bed was made of iron and thirteen feet long and six feet wide (Deuteronomy 3:11), surely suggesting that he was not of normal human size. Then, there is the mention of the man of Gath who “was a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot—twenty-four in all. He also was descended from Rapha” (2 Samuel 21:20). Of course, there is also the mention of Goliath, the giant Philistine that David slew with a sling. The Scripture mentions that he was also of the city of Gath and that his height was six cubits and a span (1 Samuel 17:4). To correctly calculate his size, we must evaluate what a cubit and a span were at the time. In the time of David’s son, Solomon, the cubit was 25.2 inches, which puts Goliath at 12' 9" feet tall. Most Bible commentators believe that Goliath may have been descended from the Nephilim.

When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, God led this new nation to the border of the land of Canaan, sending out spies to look over the land. Ten of the twelve spies came back with a bad report saying,

 

31But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:31-33 NIV).

Perhaps, the above scripture would explain why God instructed Joshua and the Israelites with him to completely wipe out the inhabitants of the land that they were entering.

Question 4). What strategies can you see Satan employing today to corrupt the human race, and how can we keep ourselves from being polluted by sin?

How are we to avoid corruption in the world?


Satan has not given up on his strategy of trying to corrupt man. Through the cross of Christ, we have been delivered from having to serve sin and Satan. Each of us who are born-again of the Spirit can choose whom we will obey, Satan or God. Our Master kept Himself entirely free of sin so that He could be a willing perfect sacrifice for sin. When He was with the disciples on that last night in the Upper Room, He said, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me” (John 14:30). Satan had nothing in Christ, no claim against Him. We also, having received forgiveness and the Spirit’s power are to live our lives so that Satan has nothing in us. If you know who you are in Christ, you can confidently say the same. He (our enemy) has no claim on us. We are to live in this present evil world as entirely justified children of the light, which is what we are.

Since we have been set free and restored to live the new life imparted to us in Christ, how do we live as children of the light? Satan has many more means in the 21st century to corrupt through technology. There are so many distractions that it takes a conscious effort to hold fast to spiritual disciplines in our lives. When you are tempted or when you experience difficulty, come before God’s throne of grace. We are to draw grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). The enemy will try to intimidate us into walking away from the front lines of the battle. However, we do not need to rely on our resources in the fight. We are not intelligent enough to withstand our enemy without divine help.
 

I would advise you to be daily in the Word of God. If Jesus the Son of God would only use the Word of God in His wilderness temptation battle with Satan, how much more should we?  “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9). The Word of God is like a mirror (James 1:23). When we look in a mirror, we see an accurate representation of ourselves.
 

In the same way, when we read and meditate on the Scriptures, we know what God says about us, who we were, and who we are now in Christ. Scripture says that the Word of God is living and has creative power. God's Word helps us to experience the kingdom of God in our own lives and to bring the kingdom of God to others. When we focus on abiding in Christ through His Word, we avoid the distractions and schemes of the enemy. This spiritual warfare is something that is consciously before us through our lives.
 

Be careful of what you allow to enter the gateways to your spirit. The eye gate, the hearing, and the tongue gate: "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked" (Psalm 39:1). The half-brother of the Lord Jesus said a man is mature in Christ when he or she can control his or her tongue: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:26).
 

We make decisions every day that effect to what we give our minds, eyes, and ears. We also create with our words. How much we allow the Lord to be present in our lives, our thoughts and actions have a direct effect on the fruit in our own lives and others.  To sum up, we overcome by the following:
 

  1. Our enemy, though he is unseen, is a very evil spiritual being, but our God is greater than all and will fight for us. We do not have to rely on our strength, for He offers us His power at all times. He exchanges our life for His divine life.
     

  2. Abide in Christ by reading the Scriptures, taking control of your thought life, and seeking to live according to what He has revealed to us in His Word. His Spirit helps us to do this. Our thought life is the heart of the battle. Jesus’ central prayer before He went to the Father was that we would be one. Stay in fellowship with others, the body of believers in Christ.
     

  3. When you struggle, think of all He has already done to preserve, deliver, and protect you. Come boldly before His throne of grace because our God is for us! If God the Father was prepared to give up His own Son for our sakes, we know that He can keep us. If you take anything from this course of teaching, then let it be the knowledge that He is FOR us. Romans 8, verse 38 tells us:
     

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38).
 

Prayer: Father, thank you for your overcoming and overwhelming love, which we cannot comprehend. We accept your love and help us to live as children of the light. Amen.

5. Jesus’ Authority over Demons

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

After marrying my American wife, Sandy, we left the United States arriving in England in 1981. Although we were young Christians, we wanted to give our lives to the ministry of the Lord Jesus. We encountered our first case of a demonized person within a few months of arrival. It happened about the same time that we and another couple started gathering people into small groups in my hometown of Harwich, Essex, England.

 

We met a person who had grown up under the influence of his mother who was a practicing Jehovah Witness, and his father who had been into Spiritualism. We both felt that there was something odd or different about him. At this time in our lives, Sandy and I were quite naive to such things as demonization, but we knew enough to know that Jesus could help him, so we decided to take him to church with us. We had a little mini Cooper at the time, so we started driving with his sitting in the backseat the twenty-eight miles to the church, which we were attending.

 

As we were driving, he started opening up about himself. First of all, he told us that he was the Antichrist, the evil world ruler who is prophesied to rule on the Earth in the last days. Then, he went on to tell us that there were male and female voices inside him telling him that he needed to persecute Sandy and me in order "to drive us closer together." When we got halfway to church, I remember it became quite foggy, and he said that something could happen to us on the road. Sure enough, right after he said those words, a car hit us from behind and totaled our car. None of us were hurt, and we still managed to get to church with him where the leadership of the church ministered to him, but at that time, we were so inexperienced in dealing with this sort of thing. This man probably needed both psychological and spiritual help. There was spiritual oppression that was very evident.

 

We had a couple of other confrontations, which were similar in that people reacted against the Gospel or the name of Jesus unusually. I realized that I needed to learn how to help people like him who are in need. So, I began to read all kinds of books on the subject. Deliverance from spiritual oppression is a topic about which we all need to learn more, so in this study, we want to take a closer look at Jesus' power over demons.

 

Where Do Demons Originate?
 

In our last two studies, we looked carefully at Ephesians 6:12 and discovered that Paul the Apostle taught that Satan has with him at least four different categories of evil spirits that do his bidding. We also looked at evil angels infiltrating into the earth sphere to corrupt the human race. The lower levels of Satan's hierarchy of evil, the demons that have the task of hindering the growth of the Kingdom of God in the world, continue the work of trying to corrupt the human race by the temptation to sin, seeking to bring about more in-depth levels of control by dark evil forces. Scripture does not tell us where these demons come. There are a few theories, but we cannot be dogmatic that either assumption is correct. Josephus, the Jewish historian that lived just after the time of Christ, believed that demons were the spirits of wicked people who had died.[1] Another traditional theory is that demons are the disembodied spirits of people that lived before Adam.  I hasten to add that there is no supporting Scripture to back that tradition. Then, there are those who believe that demons are unconfined fallen angels. Others also say that demons are the offspring of the fallen angelic beings who mated with women before the flood and were killed by the flood (Genesis 6:1-8). I do not care from where they come. My only concern is how to live free of their evil influence and how to seize back the territory that they have claimed in people's lives. Our focus in this study is how to live an overcoming life as Jesus intends, for we will encounter enemy forces as we advance with Christ into enemy territory. We will overcome them by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11), i.e., the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ putting us into right relationship with God, and by the word of our testimony.

 

We need to understand that we Christians are in a struggle with evil invisible entities. During the Second World War, if you had been living in France in 1941 after the Germans had overrun the country, you would have been living in an enemy-occupied country. You were in the war, whether you liked it or not. A state of war existed, and you were on the other side to the Germans who had occupied your country. If you are a Christian, you are living in an enemy-occupied country, and as long as you are no threat to the enemy, he will let you continue to sleep. However, as soon as you awaken to the call to fight on the side of right, you will find a new sense of joy and inner fulfillment that you have, perhaps, been missing—a cause for which to fight. There are no civilians in a time of war, no fence between one kingdom and another to which you can cling. You are either for Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30). Many are still asleep in this war. They are not aware of the battle that they are experiencing. What we need to understand is that this is how Satan wants it! He wants the people of God to be asleep. 

 

As soon as John the Baptist baptized Jesus, He entered into the war. Right away, He was confronted with Satanic temptations in the wilderness as He fasted for forty days. He came out of that trial in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14). We are also called to walk in the power of God's Spirit, for every battle that we, the people of God, encounter makes us stronger in faith. The book of Mark indicates that Christ’s first sermon in the Capernaum synagogue was interrupted by a man with an evil spirit in him:

 

21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. 27The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee (Mark 1:21-28).

 

Imagine that, your first sermon which you preach and a demon manifests in the middle of the talk. Satan, for the most part, would like to keep his work invisible, but he fears the authority of Christ, and cannot stay hidden when the Light of the World shines in the darkness. Every advance of the Kingdom of God will get a reaction from the kingdom of darkness. Satan fears men and women of God who bring his work out into the open, for it shows the supremacy of God over Satan’s kingdom. Before the end of the day of Christ's first sermon in Capernaum, the whole area was excitedly sharing that the Messiah had arrived on the scene. They brought their sick and demonized friends to the house where Jesus had just healed Peter's mother-in-law:

 

32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door, 34and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was (Mark 1:32-34).

 

Question 1) What was it that brought the whole town to the door? Why did Jesus forbid the demons to speak? Try to describe the scene you see in your mind’s eye from Mark’s testimony. 

 

Wherever Jesus went, there was a conflict, a battle. Sometimes, it was evident through the reaction of the religious rulers of the day, viz. those who did not believe, and at other times, there were demonic reactions. Jesus responded by bringing the rule of God into people’s lives as He met their need. That could be a need for healing or deliverance from evil spirits. Often in Scripture, it appears that these two things were linked.  In my opinion, the reason Jesus did not let the demons speak about His identity was that His time had not yet come. The closer Christ got to the cross, the greater the attacks from the enemy. Remember what the Pharisees accused Jesus of doing? They said that He cast out demons through the prince of demons (demonic power). This criticism by the Pharisees and elders does not make sense because, as Jesus explained, “a house divided against itself will not stand” (Mark 3:25). For whatever reason, Jesus would not permit demons that spoke through people to utter truth. He silenced the demons and cast them out. Where He brought light and life, the darkness had to flee!

 

The critical thing to realize is that disembodied spirits are real and that Jesus has authority over all the power of the evil one. John the Apostle tells us, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work” (1 John 3:8). The Lord came to root out, destroy, and deliver humanity from every work of the enemy. There is nothing that the enemy has done in your life that Jesus can't undo! He has the last and the final word over the enemy.

What Are Demons Like and How Do They Express Themselves?

 

As we said in the first talk on this subject, evil spirits occupy an unseen realm beyond our physical sight. They are continually seeking opportunities to enter a home, which they can inhabit and through which they can express their will, mind, emotions, and evil nature. They operate from outside a person and try to gain entrance to a person's life by promoting habitual sin. One cannot tell at what point they actually gain access to a person's life to further drive a person into a compulsion toward a particular sin. They have intelligence and have their own will about how they do things. Being evil spirits that have no physical body, their longing is to have some host to express their evil tendencies. Without a host, they have no rest until they find one:

 

24When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, “I will return to the house I left”' 25When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first (Luke 11:24-26).

 

Question 2) Why is the final condition of this man worse if the house was swept clean and put in order?

 

A clean house speaks of self-reformation, i.e., the cleaning up of one's life by stopping certain habits that bring a person to a downward spiral in the first place. The enemy would love for you to clean up your life and to try by your strength to be free from sin. Self-righteousness is just a strategy of the enemy. If the goal is just self-reformation, then a person often feels “empty” and unfulfilled.

 

We have been created with a God-shaped void in our lives that only the Lord sitting on the throne of your life will satisfy. Once the natural barrier (the hedge as in Job 1:10) over our lives is broken down by sin and the infestation of demons, the only spirit that will bring wholeness, cleanness, and holiness is the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. The good news of the Gospel is not that He has come to give us a reformed life but, instead, an exchange of life! It is an exchange of our life for His life! The Holy Spirit dwells within us when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives. Self-reformation is not enough. Without Christ occupying the throne at the center of our lives, a demon that has had to leave can come back with one or more stronger spirits. Speaking to Christians, Paul the Apostle says:

 

Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received of God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

 

Paul was writing to the believers in Corinth. He told them that their bodies were temples to the Holy Spirit. Each of us is created with a place for God Himself to rule and reign in the temple of your spirit. Until we meet Christ, we are those that sit on the throne of our lives. I don't know about you, but I did a poor job of directing and managing my life before Christ came to sit there on the throne (Galatians 2:20).

Demons Can Cause Physical Sickness.

 

Demons do not cause every physical sickness, but some Scriptures indicate that in some cases there is more to the physical condition than what is seen from a surface view of the symptoms. For instance, in Mark's Gospel, Chapter 9, Jesus casts out a spirit from a child whose father testified that his son was deaf because of a spirit’s demonizing him:

 

17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” 19 “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” 20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22“It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:17-29).

 

Today, most physicians would say that the father was blaming the boy’s condition on some physical condition, but the boy was also foaming at the mouth, gnashing his teeth, and becoming rigid while lying on the ground. How did Jesus handle the situation? He rebuked the demon saying, “’You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you to come out of him and never enter him again’” (Mark 9:25). It is easy to go by the word “rebuked” without taking a look at what it means to rebuke. The Greek word that Mark uses when he writes (The New Testament was written in Greek) is the word Epitimaō. My Key Word Study Bible says that this word means, “to blame, censure, chide, rebuke, warn or berate. It is an abrupt, curt, and biting charge, pointedly expressing disapproval, the taking to task of someone for a fault, and connotes a sharp or harsh tone.”[2]

 

So what is my point? I can’t ever imagine Jesus speaking in such a way to a boy, and in any case, the boy was deaf as well as mute. He couldn’t hear what Jesus was saying. The spirit to which Jesus was speaking listened to Him and came out at His word of command. The Lord Jesus was taking authority over an evil spirit that had robbed the boy of the ability to speak and hear. When the evil spirit came out, the boy was healed. We will come back to this passage at a later session, for time will limit what we can get into today. Let's look at another passage found in Matthew's Gospel, chapter nine:

32While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, "Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel." 34But the Pharisees said, "It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons" (Matthew 9:32-34).

This demonic manifestation was on a different occasion, for, Matthew writes about a fully grown man. The Scripture doesn't say that Jesus healed the man. Instead, Christ cast out the spirit, and the consequence of the spirit’s departure was that the man could talk again. How does a spirit manage to hinder a person from speaking? I don't know.  All I can tell you from Scripture is that spirits can affect physical bodies. Let's look at another example in Luke chapter thirteen:

10On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." 13Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." 15The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" 17When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the beautiful things he was doing (Luke 13:10-17).

 

Question 3) What things stand out as you read this passage?

 

This wonderful deliverance did not come about by the evil spirit’s manifesting itself and drawing attention to the woman. The spirit had tried to stay silent and invisible. It is possible that the woman herself did not know that her illness was caused by a spirit that had managed to gain access into her life. The spirit in this woman had no problem with her attending church (synagogue), and as far as we know, there were no other manifestations of the evil spirit’s presence in the life of the woman.

 

It was Jesus who saw beyond the physical condition to a spirit that was causing this deformity. He went to her. He saw her ailment, and even though He knew that it would open Him up to attack by his religious enemies, He still bravely ministered to the women’s need, speaking a word of wisdom to those who opposed healing on the Sabbath at the same time. If this woman had been in one of our churches today, most people would attribute her condition to a disease that had caused the problem. Jesus told us that it was a spirit that had bound her with unseen chains. He didn’t say, “Woman, you are healed from your infirmity,” but, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity” (Verse 12). The Greek word translated bound in verse 16 means to bind, fasten or to tie as with a chain or rope. Don't you love it that Jesus didn't care about the scorn of the religious leaders as He delivered this woman?  He cared so much that not another day should pass before this woman should be released from the oppression of the enemy.

 

Question 4) Have you ever had a time in your life where you felt under a cloud of depression, doubt, or darkness? What caused it? Could there have been a spiritual root? If not, have you ever tried speaking to someone about Christ and aware of a veil or a heaviness that seemed to prevent him or her from understanding or praying?

 

Not all depression and heaviness in people’s lives is because of being demonized by a spirit that has managed to gain access to a person’s life. Many times, there are problems caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise, or being deficient in many minerals and nutrients that we no longer get through the way our food is produced. I am saying that, in some cases, people have oppression launched at them from outside of their lives. One of the world's greatest preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, was plagued by severe depression, which I believe was demonic spiritual opposition due to his preaching in London, but also because his sermons were being transcribed and sent to the four corners of the earth by the growth of the British Empire at that time.
 

 In the above passage of Scripture, the spirit had gained access and was causing the deformity of the spinal column. One further thing that Jesus mentions is that the woman was a believer; He calls her a daughter of Abraham whom Satan had bound (Verse 16). Paul the Apostle is very clear that those who believe are children of Abraham, Jews, and Gentiles (Galatians 3:6-9; Romans 4:16). This woman, a daughter of Abraham, was demonized. This passage of Scripture raises a big question:
 

Can a Christian Be Demonized?

 

I do not believe that a spirit can gain access into a Christian who is walking in the Spirit, one whose life is laid down at the foot of the cross. Not all Christians live their lives in such a way, though. There are some who have been led away from the purity and holiness of a godly life; perhaps because they have not been taught how to live a Christ-centered life. When temptation is listened to and obeyed, we are “open season” to the enemy who seeks opportunity through our sin and darkness to lead us away from intimacy with Christ. Don't get me wrong, I believe in the eternal security of the believer (John 6:39; John 5:24), but the enemy can limit our effectiveness as we live as believers in this world.

 

I have a friend in England, whom I do not doubt has been a believer since his youth, but there was a time when his mind was filled with oppressive thoughts, driving him to depression and anxiety. When I prayed for him, he fell to the floor and was slithering about on the floor like a snake as a demon manifested itself at the presence of Jesus in the room. The Lord showed up and completely delivered him. I am still in touch with him, and he continues to walk with and serve the Lord.

 

I don’t believe that a Christian or a non-Christian, either, can be possessed in the full sense of the word. The word possession gives us an image of a person under complete and absolute control by demons. However, even the most terrible demonic case in Scripture, i.e., the man under control by Legion (Mark 5:1-20), was able to run to Jesus as soon as he saw Him. If the demons had full control of the man, they would have caused him to run the opposite way! They are terrified of Jesus! John Wimber, the man whom God used to start the network of Vineyard Churches, commented on this question:

 

I do not believe that demons may own people absolutely while they still live on earth; even when demons gain a high degree of control, people are still able to exercise a degree of free will that may lead to deliverance and salvation. The Greek word used for having a demon (daimonizonmenoi) is more literally translated “demonized” (See Matthew 4:24; Mark 1:32; Luke 8:36; John 10:21), which means to be influenced, afflicted, or tormented in some way by demonic power.[3]

 

We see this happening in the life of Saul, Israel’s first king. Scripture tells us that, “God changed Saul’s heart” (1 Samuel 10:9), with the next verse saying that “the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying” (1 Samuel 10:10).  However, a few chapters later, as he began to disobey and refused to listen to God's voice, and even to reject the Word of the Lord (1 Samuel 15:26), we are told that an evil spirit tormented him (1 Samuel 16:14). I believe that a Christian can be demonized and influenced.

 

Demons Influence People Through their Thoughts

 

Demons can influence the thoughts of both Christians and not-yet-believers. We are told not to believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are of God (1 John 4:1).  Paul the Apostle writes to his young disciple, Timothy, who is being trained for the ministry, instructing him to gently teach his opponents, in the hope that they may be released from the devil's grip:

 

25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:25-26).

 

There are those in the media and around us who seek to influence our decision-making through manipulation and deception. People do not realize that evil spiritual forces implant thoughts into their minds, hoping to bend their decision making. Paul talks about those who have been “taken captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). Demons will speak even through those in our family and friendships. Often, they will not even know why they have said such things that issue from their mouths. In the middle of such attacks be spiritually aware! The enemy will use those who are influential in our family to try to dissuade us from walking closely with Christ. Isn't this what happened to Jesus through Peter the Apostle? When Jesus began to tell the disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to die in place of guilty man, Peter began to rebuke Him. “’Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’”

 

Guess whose thoughts were sown into his mind at that point? Jesus knew the source of that thought. He said to Peter (or the spirit that was speaking through him), “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:23). All these words were spoken just after the Spirit of God had revealed to Peter who Jesus was, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matthew 16:16). Take care of your thought life.

 

In another place, the Father directed Jesus to get into a boat to deliver a man from a classic case of a territorial spirit that ruled over an area to the east of the Sea of Galilee. The enemy tried to head off the attack by manipulation of the wind and the sea.

 

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" 39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 41They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"(Mark 4:35-41).

 

Let me ask you a question—Have you ever before spoken to an inanimate object? Don’t you think it kind of odd to have a chat with the wind and the waves? Being an ex-fisherman from England, I can confidently tell you that there are many days when it was stormy on the North Sea, and yet I never cursed the wind and the waves for blowing hard. The word rebuked (v.39) is the same Greek word Epitimaō that Jesus spoke to the demonized boy in the passage of Scripture that we mentioned earlier. Why would Jesus use such strong words to speak to the wind and the waves? It was because the Father had sent Him to deliver the man called Legion in the following passage.

 

Satan guessed that he had better try and stop Jesus from the deliverance that happened (Mark 5:1-20). It was so supernatural that even the waves became instantly still. Take a moment to picture this! That is not a natural phenomenon at all. When the wind stops, the wave movement still carries on for several hours depending on the strength of the wind. Four of the disciples, possibly five, were fishermen who had fished that water for some time and yet they were terrified at such a supernatural thing as the waves becoming still. Jesus speaking authoritatively to the wind and waves was resistance to demonic attack.

 

Let’s now take a look at the passage of Scripture just after the supernatural stopping of the winds and the waves:

 

1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" 8For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!" 9Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region (Mark 5:1-17).

 

Question 5) What do we learn about the destructive life this man was experiencing? Why did the people of the nearby town plead with Jesus to leave? What causes people to respond with fear when they see a power encounter like this?

 

I notice that Jesus commanded the spirit to tell Him his name (verse 9). Those that have a lot of experience in ministering deliverance believe that being forced to reveal its name and nature by a higher spiritual power weakens the demon's hold. Luke in his Gospel also mentions the story about Legion, adding that this man for a long time had not worn clothes or lived in a house (Luke 8:27). He had lived naked in the tombs. Mark tells us that, night and day among the graves, he had been crying out and cutting himself with stones to destroy himself, such being the torment of the man's inner life. I love that the Lord had heard his cry and went across the Sea of Galilee to minister to Him. I love the fact that, as soon as the man saw Jesus, he ran to Him. There was a battle going on for his soul, for as soon as he came before Jesus, he fell on his knees, recognizing his need. It seems it was the demons that spoke through him, though, begging not to be tortured. I notice that they still wanted to reside in a host, even though it was pigs, two thousand in number (Verse 13).

 

I do not know why Jesus allowed them to go into the pigs, except that, perhaps, it was a visual reminder to the man delivered that the spirits had indeed left him: he saw what happened to the pigs. It is likely that the Jews in the area were compromising God’s law for economic reasons.  Jews were not allowed to eat pork, and a large herd of pigs is a lot of bacon, which would be worth a lot of money.  It is a possibility that they were not eating it themselves but selling it to the Gentiles (non-Jews) in the area. The city of Damascus, the Syrian capital, was just a few miles away. It would have been a good reason why the people in the area did not want Jesus around but asked him to leave, i.e., they were afraid of more loss of revenue. Unfortunately, many reject Christ for economic reasons, putting money as more of a priority in their lives than Jesus.

 

What about you? Who comes first in your life? Is Jesus your Lord? He left the safe shores of Western Galilee to release a man who was naked and crying out in torment. He cares about every one of us. What need do you have in your life that is causing you pain and misery? Call out to Him with all your heart. I am convinced that He will leave the 99 that are safe and look for the one lost:

 

4Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? (Luke 15:4)

 

You are never beyond our Lord's eyes or the compassion of His heart. He can see what you are going through. He knows it all, and He loves you. Cry out to Him with all your heart, and if you are not in the family yet, come to Him and learn of Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul (Matthew 11:29).

 

We have not been sent to battle without protection. When we sense that we are amid warfare, there are two things we need to remember. One is that the battle is the Lord’s and, secondly, that He is victorious over all the works of the enemy. We are citizens of His Kingdom, and as His citizens, we take His kingdom with us wherever we go. When we are praying for those who do not know Christ, be aware that you are in a battle. As you pray for them, ask for them to be released from any spiritual forces that would blind them. People who are in darkness do not know that they are in darkness. It is possible for people even to read the Scriptures and still be blinded to the truth contained in them. We can take authority as we pray because Jesus is victorious and the battle is the Lord’s!

 

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38).

Prayer: Father, I pray that you will deliver me from every evil deed. Grant me the power to live a life of purity and freedom from all demonic forces. Deliver me from evil, for yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, Amen!

6. Satan’s Schemes

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

Demonic Deception

 

In the spring of 1925, Count Victor Lustig, who worked for the French Ministry of Works in Paris, and an American, Daniel Collins, met with five businesspeople in a Paris hotel and explained that the famous Paris landmark, the Eiffel Tower, was in a dangerous condition because of rust. It was being sold for scrap and would have to be pulled down quickly to avoid the public outcry that would inevitably occur. Victor explained that the Ministry of Works was looking for bids from companies from which to sell the scrap. Within a week, the submissions arrived, and Monsieur Poisson's proposal was accepted. Then, Count Victor shared that there was only one problem: he and his secretary required a bribe to help the deal go through the official channels of the French government. A significant amount of cash was exchanged, and the deal was on. Within twenty-four hours, Lustig and Collins were out of the country with the money. It was a big con! Embarrassed and humiliated, Poisson kept the big scam to himself, and he carried on as if nothing had happened. Encouraged by their success, the con men returned to Paris and repeated the fraud on someone else.
 

 

Deception is a powerful tool of the enemy; in fact, you could say that it is the cornerstone of his operations. Satan is a master of fraud, and his big con is being perpetuated all over the world. He is the ultimate, clever con-man deceiving the world and the Church. Scripture tells us that he deceives the whole world (Revelation 20:3). The sin of abortion, for instance, in my opinion, is carried out under a powerful deception, not only by those committing the act but also by those who are deceived into believing that there is no other solution, no acceptable way forward. Hopelessness leads to many disastrous decisions. The enemy wants to obscure the hope that all of us can find in our Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

The trouble with being under deception is that people don't know they are under deception! After all, people who are in darkness cannot see! Jesus warned us that the Antichrist would deceive many when he comes to power by claiming that he is the Christ (Matthew 24:5; 11). I believe that we are in a period that the Bible calls the last days and that a characteristic of this time is that of deception by demonic forces:

 

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1).

 

Of course, none of us have heard demons teach, but these evil spirits plant their thoughts into willing slaves and influence their thought life. How can a person discern the things being taught are demonic in origin? Scripture tells us to evaluate everything by the written word of God: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” (Isaiah 8:20). The Law and Testimony refer to the Bible. Do you search and examine the Scriptures to verify what you are taught? The Berean church that Paul the Apostle planted is an excellent example of checking what is taught by reviewing it in the light of the Word of God:

 

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true (Acts 17:11).

 

If teaching lines up with the Word of God in its context, then it is safe to trust the speaker's words. Do not allow yourself to be drawn away from the simplicity of trust in Christ and His Word by listening and obeying false teaching not based on the Bible. “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

 

How does Satan deceive the people of God? If Satan were to mislead a child of God, he does it subtly. He would come as a counterfeit, an angel of light. A clever counterfeit must look very similar to the original article to be effective. That is why it is essential to know and to follow the Word of God and let it be your "plumb line" for evaluating what you hear, especially if it is different and takes you away from the centrality and simplicity of the message of Christ. There are those who will sometimes use scriptural principles but distort them to be out of character to the person of Christ. Paul, as he was preparing to leave Asia Minor for the last time, warned the elders of the various churches about false teachers: “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). What does it mean to distort? It means to reshape, twist, change something to look completely different from what it should look like. Doctrines of demons refer to people whom the enemy is using in our day that are teaching things that lead men away from the truth of sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Paul the Apostle wrote about such men in his day:

 

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

 

These teachers look the part, i.e., they are full of smiles and saying the kinds of things that people love to hear, but the essence of the message leads men to think that they are good enough. There is no call to repentance and faith in Christ's redemptive work and the need to be born-again.

 

Question 1) In our day, how do you see Satan and his servants continuing to masquerade as servants of righteousness or as an angel of light? If you believe we are in the end times, what kinds of things are being taught by deceiving spirits?

 

Satan’s Schemes

 

Just like a master con artist, Satan has planned and schemed to separate as many people from God as he possibly can. It is imperative that we are aware of his strategies:

 

10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).

 

The context of this passage is about the forgiving of a believer who had been disciplined by the church after being caught in sin. Paul is emphatic that the Church should forgive him and welcome the man back into fellowship so that Satan does not get the better of us by superior ingenuity or cleverness—to outwit us. Unforgiveness and resentment cause a spiritual cancer of bitterness to grow within us as individuals as well as a church body. Satan is very well acquainted with the distance that unforgiveness puts between a man and his God. He strategizes as to how to separate people from one another with a wall of unforgiveness. He knows that unforgiveness will keep us frozen and hold back instead of drawing near to God. Jesus warned that if we want the Father's forgiveness, then we must forgive. “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15).

 

I have to be honest and say that, many times in my Christian life, I have been unaware of Satan's schemes, and perhaps, you have been, too. Satan uses many plans and strategies to gain a foothold in a person's life to corrupt their mind and heart slowly. It is often some small sin, but he never stops there. He looks for an entrance through a sin that is not acknowledged, e.g., an area in our lives where we do not agree with God. It is a progression of sins becoming habit-forming that can become a stronghold. Strongholds are difficult to break with merely self-willpower alone. Confession to God and repentance breaks the legal right of the enemy and uproots the thought and act from becoming more deeply entrenched or rooted in the soil of our lives. Marcus Aurelius said, "A man's life is what his thoughts make it." Take care over your thought life, and your soul will prosper. Whoever is suggesting to your mind, your predominant thoughts will govern your immediate action. If you sow a thought, you will reap an act. If you sow an act, you will reap a habit. If you sow a habit, you will reap a character. If you sow a character, you will reap a destiny. Good thoughts that are allowed to take root in the soil of your character will progress to good habits and will ultimately bring great peace to your soul and change your character to one that is Christ-ruled.

 

A progression of evil thoughts that are not rejected, resisted, or cast down will become habits that give power to unseen demonic forces that seek to enslave and destroy your life ultimately. Whenever a person bows down and gives permission to sin, he gives up power and territory to demonic spirits to control and manipulate. It is as if we give demonic spirits “food” to eat which makes them stronger. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). What does it mean to prowl? The picture is of a lion, perhaps unseen, hiding in the shadows, going back and forth with its eyes fixed on its prey, trying to find the right time and a weakness whereby he might attack. The Greek word here translated as devour means to “drink down, gulp entirely and swallow up.”[1] C.S. Lewis writes about Satan’s aims in his fictitious account of an elderly demon, Screwtape, training his nephew, Wormwood, in the undermining of the mind, will, and emotions of Christians. He writes:

 

“To us a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense.”[2]

 

Demons can only express themselves on earth by using people who respond to their temptations. The more a human being obeys the direction or bidding of an evil thought from demons, the stronger their hold over that person.

Different Degrees of Attack by Satan:

The religious people of Jesus’ day went through an elaborate ritual of washing their hands before eating anything, thus showing off their cleanliness and self-righteousness from eating anything that would corrupt them. Jesus spoke about what corrupts a man, saying:

14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’” 17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) 20He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’” (Mark 7:14-23).

Question 2) In your opinion, what is the essence of Jesus’ teaching in this passage? How can the expression of evil change a person? How can someone be made clean?

 

One of the primary ways that Satan and his demons can impact the life of a person is to sow thoughts into his mind, thus affecting his emotions and, ultimately, his will. Your mind is a seedbed that receives seed thoughts from three different sources:  God, Satan, and your spirit, i.e., the real you that occupies the tent of your body (2 Corinthians 5:4). Satan would love for us to believe that our thoughts are our own and that we should act on every idea that comes to us. Those that have suicidal tendencies may be suffering from demonic oppression. We know that the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus said that He came that we “may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Satan will try to convince a person that there is no hope and then cajole him into self-destruction. Of course, demons are not content with just destroying individuals. In many cases, demons want to express their personalities or use people as a tool or as “food.” The enemy seeks to acquire a beachhead or a foothold in your life.

 

In writing on this theme, the Apostle Paul said, "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26-27). Paul is saying by implication that, if you allow yourself in your anger to carry a grudge or if you harbor unforgiveness toward someone, then you can give territory and ground to the devil.  First of all, it becomes a foothold, but if not checked by confession, repentance, and forgiveness, it can become a stronghold in your life that will seem to have a power all its own. The English word “foothold” is translated from the original Greek word topos, which means “place,” but it can also mean, as in the Ephesians passage, that we can give a possibility, opportunity, or chance for Satan to gain a foothold in our lives if our anger goes over the top to be resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness.

 

Let’s look now at the different degrees of bondage or slavery to sin.

1) Foothold. Demons tempt people with lures that draw them away in the hope that they will bite on the temptation. What is a lure? It is a temptation to do something that we usually would not do, but the bait offers some form of reward that appeals to our base nature as humans. A temptation to one person might not appeal to another.  From the unseen realm, demons observe a weakness as to what things appeal to us or tempt us, and they can manipulate the situation to offer us the reward. Temptation can be resisted and rejected. Failure to resist and reject the enemy’s temptations will allow the enemy a foothold to ramp up his attack on a person’s soul to the next level. The demon will often wait until a habit is formed, which does not supply the expected high or fulfillment.

Often, a person does not realize that he is under spiritual attack by Satan until afterward when the devil then accuses through guilt and shame. When I have been under spiritual attack and tempted, I have often formed a picture in my mind of taking Satan to the end of a pier by the scruff of his neck and booting him off the end! Other times, I have merely said, "Get out of here, Satan." I only do that; I hasten to add when I am alone. I don't want people thinking I am crazy! When I am around people, and a tempting thought comes to me, I imagine grabbing the thought in the air and throwing it to the ground. Do whatever strategy that is successful for you! Fill your mind with good things, and you will find that this also breaks the power of temptation as there is no such "good soil" for temptation in your thoughts.

 

Finally, Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things (Philippians 4:8).

 

The Bible tells us to resist the devil and that he will flee from you (James 4:7). There is an excellent story about Martin Luther, the great reformer of the Christian faith in the 1400s when he was under spiritual attack in Wartburg Castle where he was translating the New Testament into German. The Devil did not want the Scriptures read by the ordinary people and wanted to disturb the sacred work, but when he tried to tempt and distract him, Luther grabbed the ink pot from which he was writing, and he threw it at the evil one's head. Still today, they show the room and the chair where Luther was sitting, and the spot on the wall made by the flying ink.

 

Question 3) Do you have a strategy that you use when tempted in a specific area of your life? Share your plan.
 

2) Manipulation. In this stage, demons have made a foothold to be a knee hold in the door to your spirit. The door is not yet open to demonic control, but if the vice is not checked, repented, renounced, forgiven, and forsaken, it becomes increasingly harder to resist. It may be alcoholism, drugs, pornography, or pride – you name it! There has been trafficking in the darkness and a level of obedience to the voice of the evil one. This stage is one where habits are formed along the lines of the temptation to which one has surrendered. What is a habit? It is an automatic reaction to a specific situation, a settled or regular tendency, or a practice that is hard to give up. When the enemy manipulates us like this, and we give in, our will becomes shaped by dark, evil forces, making it difficult to say no.

 

3) Oppression. If a person does not cast down thoughts and imaginations of the mind that we know are evil, the enemy manages to get a level of control of us. Whomever we choose to obey is the one who will rule our lives (Romans 6:16).  Sin desires to shape us into its image to become like the one to whom we listen to and obey (Genesis 4:7). A person oppressed often has negative and somewhat pushy thoughts that are suggestive of going down a particular avenue of sin, thoughts that are more compulsive. We could use the Star Wars movies as an analogy to describe what happens to a person who is oppressed by demons. In that movie, the Jedi knights dropped suggestive thoughts into the minds of their enemies that gave them a compulsion to do that which was suggested. A person does have the power to resist but finds it harder to say no.

 

4) Obsession. In this stage, a person has become the slave to sinful habits and demonic control. When this point is reached, it is quite noticeable to those around the person.  They can often seem "weird," or "out there," or just plain different. A believer can sometimes perceive that a person at this stage of obsession is not altogether there but maybe cannot put his finger on what it is. A more mature believer discerns quickly that which is demonic. When a person is demonized to this level, there is often a breakdown in their sanity and ability to reason due to the compulsive nature of the person's character. The demons have control to a degree where thoughts of harm to others and themselves will come to mind. Suicidal people are often at this stage, driven by guilt and wicked thoughts, and unable to find inner peace. There are chemical imbalances that can be at work in some instances, and similar to the area of healing, there may be an overlapping of physical, mental, and spiritual issues. However, it is my opinion that just as physical sickness is linked to emotional and spiritual matters, the same is true of the mental state. Jesus came to bring deliverance to our whole being:  body, soul, and spirit.

 

5) Demonization. The demons (called Legion) that inhabited the Gadarene demoniac had brought him to this point (Mark 5:1-20), i.e., crying out in anguish day and night in the graveyard. He was driven by the demons (Mark 5:5). What people in ancient times once considered sinful is no longer even cared about today—such is the level of control that the enemy has brought the world to (1 John 5:19). When sin has been expressed and allowed to corrupt a soul to this level, the enemy has such a degree of control that, at times, the person's spirit is set to one side and bypassed completely. When that kind of phenomena happens, the person demonized can be in a sort of dream-like state. There are mind-altering drugs that can also bring a person to this point. Sometimes, a different voice can be heard as the demons use the vocal cords of the individual. It can be quite scary to listen to a man's voice coming from a woman!
 

People demonized to this degree often report that they hear destructive voices, although they are not quick to share this with a counselor. Remember the story of the boy whose father told Jesus that he often “falls into the fire and often into the water” (Matthew 17:16). A stronghold of demonic control will often seek to drive the person to suicide. The demons often claim that the person belongs to them at this stage. Demons are liars and not to be trusted. I don’t believe a person is ever too far under Satan’s dominion that he or she cannot be brought back.

 

There are different degrees of bondage to Satan and his demons, but every person on Earth can call on the name of the Lord and be delivered. Those who are in the early stages of being demonized are, I do believe, able to cast down evil thoughts, temptations, and habits. The prophet Isaiah says: “Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion” (Isaiah 52:2). I believe it is possible to free oneself at all stages, but often harder due to the level of control given to the enemy. If a person is in the last stages of demonization, it is always best to have a trained team of mature Christians that will minister deliverance. The Scripture is never without hope and deliverance: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).

 

This word, “saved,” is the Greek word Sōzō. It means to be safe, delivered, made whole, preserved from danger, loss or destruction. If you feel you are demonized, you are never without help! Call upon the name of the Lord. Call urgently and with great pathos and feeling, seeking to lay down everything that has got you into such a condition. Renounce every dark deed that has allowed the enemy to gain territory in your life. Repent (“repent” means to have a change of mind concerning your sin, to turn around and live your life toward Christ) and make no excuses to God. Ask Him to forgive you for whatever is heavy on your soul. I don’t believe that God ever leaves us without help.

 

Satan’s Tools

We have many examples from the Scriptures of the enemy’s using individuals as tools. We have already looked at Satan’s attempt through the Apostle Peter to turn Christ aside from going to the cross.  At the time, Peter was unaware of who was motivating his words. Jesus abruptly spoke to the spirit which was using Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23). 

 

Judas was an excellent example of someone used as a tool of demonic activity. The sin that overcame him was greed:


Judas did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it (John 12:6).

 

All the demons had to do was supply plenty of reasons to Judas' mind over a period, slowly corrupting his heart and mind until there came the point where Satan had an access point to enter him and use him as a tool to betray the Master. Judas had plenty of evidence to convince him that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but he chose to harden his heart and remained unwilling to believe. Even after three years of walking in ministry with Jesus, he was still an unbeliever: “‘Yet there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him” (John 6:64). The Scripture says that Satan entered into him:
 

2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus (Luke 22:2-4).

 

When the act of betrayal was over, and Judas saw how he had been duped into being Satan's tool, all that Satan had to do was suggest that Judas was now an enemy and beyond forgiveness. He more than likely had oppressive thoughts after selling Jesus to His enemies, i.e., thoughts that drove Judas to suicide. We don’t know how far Judas was demonized or if Satan entered him as a one-time event to use him, but it seems highly likely that the enemy had gained entry using Judas’ love of money and the deception that went along with stealing out of the moneybag. He had been stealing out of the moneybag for a while and had set his heart and will to sin. He had seen instances of Jesus knowing people’s thoughts, yet he willfully kept stealing from the money bag.

 

He chose his path in life, i.e., that of willful sin, and Christ will not violate a person's will. The fact that Judas could observe the life of Jesus close at hand, and yet remain an unbeliever, shows the depth of hardness of his heart. Was his final act of suicide one of regret, remorse, or merely an act of despair? We cannot be sure, but if we are to observe his life, it was not the life of a believer. It appears that, after Satan had finished with him, he disposed of him merely as a tool that had served its purpose. There was a point of entry that made Judas vulnerable to be that vessel of betrayal. Through his choices and acts of his will, he made himself available to Satan.

 

Of course, there is always the question of predestination versus free will, but the Bible ultimately teaches us that we are responsible for our sins and that if we continue to sin and refuse to repent, we make a larger home for stronger enemies to reside in the temple of our heart (1 Corinthians 6:19). Repentance and forgiveness will wipe the slate clean before God, but it doesn’t mean that sin will not exact a price in our lives. Not all sin will result ultimately in demonization, but what I’m saying is that continual sin and a refusal to repent will bring pain and discipline from God if you are a Christian. If you are a slave to sin in your life, you will open yourself to oppression. In the life of an unbeliever, a strong, stubborn will against God will ultimately end in disaster (Proverbs 29:1).

 

Question 4) What’s the difference between accusation from Satan and the illumination or conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit?

 

One big difference that I find is that when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin, it is a gentle voice to which I have to pay attention. He shines His light on my path and makes me aware of something in my life that will hinder me from moving forward with Him. This conviction has nothing to do with His love for me because His love is always constant. It has everything to do with my effectiveness and my ability to abide with Christ and walk with Him and being able to enjoy The abundant life that He gives to me. His conviction brings illumination, i.e., light into my life and upon my path. He always points to something specific, enabling me to agree with Him on the matter and move on. In the instance of accusation from the enemy, the result is nagging guilt that weighs heavily on my soul. It does nothing but impedes my journey, offering me no signposts or help to find my way.

Often these accusations and poor self-image are accompanied by a general heaviness and negative feeling about ourselves, our own life. It does not point to any specific solution.  This is a primary tool of the enemy to wear down the saints. He wants to remind us of our old identity and keep us blind to our true identity in Christ.
 

I don't think Satan gained entry into Judas' life for the first time on the evening of the Last Supper. It was likely that it happened over a period, perhaps many years before he met Christ, in which he gave way to his desire to thieve his way ahead in life.

 

Again, I refer to C.S. Lewis’ book called The Screwtape Letters. The elderly demon, Screwtape, advises his junior apprentice Wormwood:

 

You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards will do the trick. Indeed, the safest road to hell is the gradual one, the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.[3]

 

Some Helpful Tips​

​​

  1. Dedicate your home to God. More than twenty years ago, when we lived in England, we rented an old house in the country that was the servant’s quarters for a large house next door. The first night, my wife Sandy and I had to sleep apart, for there were only two single beds in different rooms, and we did not yet have our double bed moved into the house. During the night, I had a terrible dream that seemed so lifelike that I knew it was demonic. I immediately went and prayed with Sandy, who also had trouble sleeping, and we sensed an evil presence in the house. We took authority in prayer that night until we felt that we could rest. The next morning, we took some olive oil as a symbol and went through the house, room by room, i.e., praying and taking authority over any demonic forces that had been there, making a sign of a cross with the oil in each room, and dedicating our home to the worship of God. We never had a problem since we did that, and each house into which we have moved, we have cleansed and dedicated it to the worship and presence of God as a family.

  2. Do the opposite of what the Devil would like you to do. Jesus put it this way, “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). The enemy of our soul hopes that we respond with hate toward those that are mistreating us, but Jesus told us to do the opposite of what the enemy would expect us to do. We are to love our enemies by finding practical ways to bless them. Agree with God’s Word.

  3. Praise God in the midst of being oppressed in your thought life. Never underestimate the power of praise in the middle of oppression and darkness. When King Jehoshaphat was attacked by an enemy much more significant than Israel, he went before God and pleaded for His help. God told him he would not have to fight this battle. Jehoshaphat's strategy from the Lord was to send out the worship team at the head of his army, and the enemies of Israel fought against one another (2 Chronicles 20). Demons cannot stand prayer, intercession, or worship. 

  4. When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. “Enough said!”

  5. If fear ever assaults you during the night (or at any other time), call on the name of Jesus! The name of Jesus has all authority in the unseen heavenly realms. Sandy, my wife, has sometimes had when she has been spiritually attacked during the night by nightmares or night terrors. More than once, she has been frozen in fear, unable to move. When in trouble like that, speak forth the name of Jesus. If you can’t talk, say it in your mind. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). “…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10)..

  6. If hopelessness comes your way seeking to depress you as to your situation, count your blessings to God. There have been dark days in our lives as a couple where we have not known what to do. During such times when we have undergone all kinds of difficulties, we have found it helpful to write down all our blessings for which we are thankful. Don’t just write them down, though; express your gratitude to God for the things with which you have been blessed.

  7. Meditate (think, ruminate or ponder) on Scripture daily. Highlight it in your Bible. Here is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. If it was good for Jesus to quote the Scriptures amid dark times (Matthew 4), then it will do the same for you.

  8. Dedicate your children to God. You don’t have to do that in Church, although I would certainly recommend it. You can do that in the privacy of your bedroom in prayer to the Father. I believe that there is a principle of giving up ownership of all we are and all that we have, including our children. In some way, I think it undercuts Satan's attempts to get at us through attacking our family.

  9. If the enemy comes against you with an accusation, take it to God in prayer. If there is sin in your life, allow this to drive you to the throne of grace and bring the issue to the Father in prayer (Matthew 5:25). Confess your faults to God, taking steps to correct sinful actions. It breaks the power of guilt. Then, remind yourself who you are in Christ and rejoice in His forgiveness. When Satan drops a guilty thought your way, it never points out the method of escape. It just brings a condemnation that hangs over us and makes us feel dreadful. Conviction from God points out something that is wrong, but it also reminds us that the cross is the remedy for all past, present, and future sin.  When He convicts us of sin, the Holy Spirit always points to Jesus and His substitutionary finished work on the cross for us.  “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

  10. Keep short accounts before God. Jesus taught that anytime we come to worship and remember that someone has something against us, we are to leave our gift at the altar, go and make things right with the person, and then come back and offer our gift (Matthew 5:24). I would recommend each evening going over the day’s events, asking God to search your heart so that you may get things right with God. King David prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). You might also need to get things right with another individual, sometimes making restitution for what you have done. This fulfills Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “that we may be one.”

 

It would be wise to break up your group into two’s and three’s and pray for one another, especially for those that sensed they were in the cross-hairs of Satan’s schemes of attack. Perhaps close with a reading of scripture something like this one:

 

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 24-25).

 

Prayer: Father, thank You for all the blessings that have come to us through the cross of Jesus. We pray again for deliverance over anything that our enemy would throw at us. Thank You, also, that You have promised that nothing will harm us by any means (Luke 10:19).

7. The Authority of the Believer

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

Ambassadorial Authority for Every Believer.

 

In approaching a subject such as the authority of God, I want to make sure that everyone knows that this is not just for certain individuals whom we may think of as “super-saints.” The issue of authority is important for each believer, and training starts when you say “yes” to Christ Jesus. His Spirit is moving all over planet Earth. As His children, it is essential for us to be involved in His work as we learn to walk with Him. Exercising authority is not just for a chosen few. Whoever is kingdom-minded will seek to do the will of the Father as Jesus did. In addition to the revealed will of God in the Word, we also have His Holy Spirit. Every child of God has access to the Word and the Spirit for the pulling down of strongholds. The call goes out to whoever will take God at His Word and move forward in faith. He leads His children one step at a time, but we rest on Christ’s authority, not our own. Let me illustrate what faith in God and Christ's death and resurrection can do when men and women step out in the power of God by sharing this story from a book called Mega-shift. In his book, Megashift, Author James Rutz shares about three unknown believers who acted in faith and moved in the authority of God. The result was a wonderful testimony of God's power to change the spiritual atmosphere in an area:

 

In 1999, three Bushmen from the Kalahari Desert changed history. They were not movers and shakers of society, but poor illiterates who laced strips of leather to the bottoms of their feet whenever they needed “shoes.” However, they stood out from the crowd in three ways:

 

  • They knew God, and they knew how to move His hand, i.e., to convince Him to transform Africa.

  • They had discovered through conversations with readers and researchers how Africa had come to be known as the Dark Continent, the home of the poorest nations on earth.

  • Thinking in sync with the Spirit of God, they determined that the continent had had enough of misery, and it was high time to take a stand and reverse the curse.

 

They found that it was a curse that lay at the root of the problem. Archeologists and anthropologists have lately pieced together—through ancient pottery shards, cave art, etc.—a coherent picture of how Africa was settled and encultured. Long ago, the original settlers came down very slowly from the North through the Rift Valley, a geological crack that runs from the Dead Sea in Israel down toward South Africa. Wherever they set up communities, they made pacts with the local gods—actually demons—putting themselves under the authority of these evil powers. The results have been massive and ghastly. However, the Bushmen knew what to do. They organized a prayer expedition to conduct Spiritual Warfare.

 

Calling together a team of experienced prayer intercessors, including some westerners, they journeyed north 5,000 miles for three months, starting in July at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, and stopping at numerous old sites, mostly along the Rift Valley, to renounce and break the original deals with demons and curses.

Every prayer session at every stop was what we call a power confrontation. By far the biggest came in Zimbabwe. After a very long, rough ride in jeeps, the team arrived at Mount Injalele (in-ja-lay-lee) in the Motobo Hills, two thousand square kilometers of reddish granite, and home to the black eagle. Though remote, the region was a popular destination for pilgrims, many that were presidents, kings, or tribal chiefs. For many years, they had come to Injalele to seek advice and guidance. There, an "oracle" supposedly spoke to them out of a large crack on the backside of the mountain.

 

You can safely assume that any advice coming from the crack was of inferior quality. Over the years, it had become such a busy shrine that the witch doctor network across Southern Africa had built four temples around the edges of the crack. So, the team prayed. They worshipped God. They repented for the sins of the people in worshipping demonic gods. They vociferously decreed the downfall of the evil powers and declared ownership of the land transferred to the kingdom of Christ. Then, they went to the next stop.


Shortly afterward, God hit and hit hard. Lightning struck all four of the temples and entirely incinerated them! As you can imagine, it was all over the region's newspapers and on everyone's lips.

 

Within two days, the most respected witch doctor in the whole of Southern Africa arrived to assess the damage and see what could be done to restore the site. Though it was a cloudless day, he was struck by lightning and killed on the spot. Then came the storm. You may have seen the damage reports on CNN World News. The most torrential rains in memory lashed a vast region, washing away whole villages and especially devastating the occult sites and witchcraft training centers, which were numerous there. However, in the western areas, the same storm system made the Kalahari blossom like a garden. There, where many Christians lived, the land became transformed into a greenhouse of trees, lush grass, blooming plants, flowing streams, and wild game—virtually unseen for at least a century. The locals were awestruck, and the fear of the Lord fell on the whole territory.[1]

 

When you hear this story, it sounds like it is straight out of the Bible. I think of the challenge that the prophet Elijah had with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). This story is so similar in many ways. The curse of the enemy was real, and the power of God was real and evident to all. I see several important things when I look at this modern story of the power of God. First of all, these were ordinary people who were merely obedient. Secondly, they stood together, and they did not engage in this ministry alone. That is the New Testament pattern. Thirdly, they were individuals who knew how to pray and act in obedience to the revealed will of God. We can make things so complicated, but it does not have to be that way. The Scriptures teach that this is the inheritance of every child of God. This kind of deliverance power is the "children's bread" (Matthew 15:26) that is part of the covenant Christ bought for us at the cross. The Father will give us His instruction if we ask Him and listen to his guidance and voice.

 

Approval does not depend on performance. The performance follows when you understand who you are.  When you know you are accepted in the beloved, and you have God's approval, you can move in spiritual authority because you know from where the power comes. People often find a more intimate walk with God merely because of being engaged in His work, alongside Him. Don’t you know that we are called into the Family Business? I remember when my father started taking me out to sea in his fishing boat. I was only six-years-old when I first went on his boat, the Why Worry.  I remember him standing beside me helping me to steer the boat. He took me just a few hundred yards from the harbor at first, and when I was ready, I eventually learned to navigate, to steer the boat myself, and to do all of the tasks I had seen my father perform.

 

We live in days when God is accelerating His work as we see the world around us becoming increasingly dark. God promises that, as the darkness increases, so will the light of God (Isaiah 59:19). We live in days when the Father needs "all hands on deck" to pull up the nets.

 

Question 1) Have you ever been in a situation where you felt out of your depth in something that you were asked to do?  How did you overcome your inadequacies and become more comfortable?

 

In my early days as a fisherman on the East coast of England, a person didn’t need a license to operate a boat or to fish. When people looked at how young I was and the size of the boat that I was working, it made them nervous due to my youth. I found that it always helped to tell them who my dad was and that I was working with him. Everybody knew who Tom Thomas was, for he was well known all along the East Coast of England. I had the authority to operate his boat and to catch fish.  Because of the relationship into which Christ has brought all, everyone who is a Christian has been authorized to go out onto the fishing grounds and catch men and women for God. Your Father has authorized and given you his permission and His blessing.

 

18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

 

The Lord has promised that, because He has been given authority in heaven and earth, so He provides that authority to us believers. He will be with you as you go just as my dad taught me bit by bit. Gifted leaders are to teach the Scriptures, but also to train men and women by having them watch us, and do what we do. This is the way Jesus did ministry. The enemy does not want you to believe that you also have been given authority, for his kingdom will lose ground when you start to live in dependence on God's power. The authority that has been given to Christ now also rests on all believers (Acts 2:38-39; Matthew 28:18). In the thirteen letters of Paul the Apostle, the phrase in Christ, in Him, or related terms, occurs 165 times. I think Paul is trying to communicate a truth of God about something, don’t you? Let’s explore that thought:

 

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body--whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink (1 Corinthians 12:13).

 

When you believed and placed your trust in Christ, the simple truth of the above statement was that not only were you born again but also the Spirit of God came and took up residence in the temple of your heart, your spirit (John 3:3). You that belong to Christ have been brought into an organic union with the God of the universe (John 17:22-23). Later on, Paul restates his thought when he says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). In the same way that Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches (John 15:5), so have we been grafted into this spiritual union with God (Romans 11:24), what Paul calls, in Christ Jesus. To be in Christ is to have been brought into a spiritual relationship that is organic—you are joined with Christ, just as you also entered into a spiritual union with your brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world.

 

From him [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16).

Restored Authority

When our ancestor, Adam, was created he was made in the image of God and given dominion over the Earth. We have lost something since those early days of the human race, for we read that Adam had the mental capacity to provide names for all the animal and bird creation (Genesis 2:19-20). He was also given the responsibility to rule over all that God had made:

26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:26-28 Emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word, radah, translated with our English word “rule,” means to “rule over or subdue.”[2] God gave responsibility and authority over all of creation to Adam and his descendants. I presume that even the king of the beasts, the lion, could be spoken to by man under God’s authority and that the lion would obey. Such was the dominion and authority that man had before the fall in the Garden of Eden. King David, speaking by the Spirit, says something very similar:

3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place, 4what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 5You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet (Psalm 8:3-6 Emphasis mine).

The Hebrew word, mashal, translated with the English word, “ruler," in Psalm 8, verse 6, indicates that Adam and we as his descendants are God's managers, governors, or stewards over the earth. Mashal means to “rule, reign, govern, have dominion over and manage.”[3] Humanity was different from the rest of the created beings due to being crowned with glory and honor and made the ruler over the Earth. He alone was created in the image of God and could rule with grace and true justice. He was God's representative. He was created in the image of God showing forth the likeness of the One True God, representing God's heart and will for His creation. Under the inspiration of the Spirit in the verses above, David says that man in his original creation was made a little lower than Elohim, the Hebrew word for God. Many translations render this word differently, and some translate it merely with the English words heavenly beings, but Scripture says that Adam was made just a little lower than God. "Elohim" is the word almost always used for God. Some translations record the change by putting it into the notes at the bottom of the page. How magnificent Adam must have been, crowned with glory and honor, fully equipped by God for his managerial role over the Earth. The passage says that God put everything on Earth under Adam's feet, symbolizing rulership and dominion over all creation (v. 6).

 

The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man (Psalm 115:16 Emphasis mine).

 

The Hebrew word, Nathan, translated with the English word “given,” means to assign. God gave responsibility for the Earth to Adam and his descendants. The earth is the territory over which man has been assigned to rule. Scripture is clear that the Earth belongs to the Lord, but it has been assigned to humankind to govern and manage. This thought of humankind given responsibility is also brought out in Genesis 2:15: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” The Hebrew word, shamar, translated with the English words, “take care of,” means: “to keep, guard, protect and preserve, as a watchman cares for his cattle or sheep.” Adam and his race were assigned the task of governing and stewardship over the planet.

Question 2) Using the definition of the word, Shamar; “to keep, guard, protect and preserve,” with what do you imagine Adam's race was to do with such authority? What did it mean for Adam and Eve to have "dominion?"

As we have already said in a previous study, this dominion of man, I believe, did not last even a night. Satan was quick to usurp and steal man's authority and rulership over the earth. Our forefather, Adam, gave away humanity's right and dominion to rule into the hands of Satan at the Fall of Man. Satan, with impunity, could say to Christ at the temptation, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to" (Luke 4:6). Satan was not offering Jesus something that he did not have. If so, this would not have been a temptation. Satan was offering Jesus something that was in his hands to use as leverage. He sought to tempt Christ to bypass the cross by bowing to him, acting outside of the Father's will.

 

This loss of our rulership and dominion gave to us by God is why the redemption of the earth had to come through a man because the earth was given to Adam's race, and only one of Adam’s race could win it back. Man was the trustee of the earth. Once Adam succumbed to Satan’s temptation to obey him rather than God, the enemy could legally do anything he wanted to any of Adam’s progeny because they had become slaves of Satan due to the slavery to sin. All it took was one act of disobedience. A man had to be found to whom Satan had no claim. That’s why Christ had to be born of a virgin. It is no wonder that the concept of the virgin birth is also under attack and something that the enemy wants to refute as foolish. It is an essential element in the redemption story. The Messiah, the Christ, had to be one of Adam’s race, but Sin could not taint him; otherwise, having Adam’s nature, He would have been owned and dominated by Satan.

 

Christ was 100% man but 100% God as well, being conceived of the Holy Spirit. Satan, therefore, had no claim on the innocent Christ. Divine law says that “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:6). In other words, when Satan took it upon himself to bring Jesus to the cross, for the first time under the divine law, he became a murderer because Jesus was completely innocent, having never sinned. Satan was stripped of the keys of death and hell at the cross (Revelation 1:18). Every man that makes Christ's death his own by believing and trusting in His death to be the payment for his sin is made righteous before God. Eternal justice was satisfied at the cross. In the courts of heaven, Satan was legally condemned as a murderer because he had no right to kill Jesus due to His sinless life. Just before the cross, Jesus said:

 

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out (John 12:31).

 

Question 3) What do you think would happen if all Christians everywhere would grasp their authority in Christ? What differences, in your opinion, would this make for individuals and the church worldwide?

 

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms [the Greek language says, "in the heavenlies"] (Ephesians 3:10).

 

Satan and his angels and demons do not want you to understand the full implications of the verse above. If I understand it correctly, Paul is saying that it is God’s intent and plan for you and me, the Church, to stand in full opposition against demonic rulers and authorities that are invisible around us. We are to declare to them through our faith in God that they no longer have any legal ground on which to stand, that this territory belongs to God and they are to leave. Remember that Christ died for you and as you to win back the dominion and authority we were given at the creation! Not only to buy you out of Satan's power by His death on the cross but also to empower you to stand as a soldier of Christ in full opposition to every evil work around you. We can begin to take the authority that Christ has given us and rule over the evil rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20). What did He command them? He commanded them to heal the sick, cast out demons and to preach the gospel (Luke 9:1-2, Luke 10:9, 17).

 

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing…You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it (John 14:12-14).

 

That same authority and power given to the twelve disciples are assigned to each believer. Theologians call this doctrine The Priesthood of All Believers. Satan has no legal right of ownership over us. Paul, the apostle, writes, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves” (Colossians 1:13). The legal authority Satan once had over us is destroyed. It is only our unbelief that stops the flow of the Spirit's power and authority through us. God chooses the weak things of the world to confound the strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). Do you feel weak? Then God has chosen you to glorify Him by using you!

 

What am I saying? God, in Christ, by His death on the cross, nullified every claim Satan had against any of us that are in Christ. The authority that Satan once exercised against us has passed to the Lord Jesus Christ and all those who are in covenant relationship with Him, i.e., the Body of Christ, the church of the Living God. We are to exercise His authority under the leadership and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. No matter how young or how old we are, we who belong to Christ are made ambassadors of God (2 Corinthians 5:20). In a legal and spiritual sense, we have been given power of attorney to exercise the will of heaven upon the earth. The only hindrance to the exercise of our authority is our lack of faith in God. In the same way that electricity flows over copper cable, so faith is the channel to the authority and power of God to see healings and other supernatural phenomena. Are we going to believe the lies of Satan or the truth of the Word of God?

 

Our Birthright as God's Children

It is one thing intellectually to know these truths, but God wants to teach us truth experientially. He desires to bring His Word from our heads to our spirit. “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place” (Psalm 51:6). Peter knew intellectually, just like the other eleven disciples, that Jesus could stop him sinking into the water if he got out of the security of the boat, but he was the only one of the twelve that got out of the boat and experienced the Lord in a new way. I have to admit, though, that too much of my life has been lived without these truths. Knowledge is authoritative, and these truths as to who you are in Christ, if they are digested spiritually and acted upon, will change the dynamic of your life and those around you.

 

The Bible says that God has given to each of us who are born-again believers a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). Along with the measure of faith, He has also given various gifts of the Spirit that each of us may be used to build up one another's faith: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). After Paul went through a list of different gifts that the Spirit gives the body of Christ, he wrote:

 

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines (1 Corinthians 12:11).

 

You and I who are Christians are powerful instruments of God if we can view ourselves the way God sees us and step out of the security of our boats. The enemy’s hand is heavily involved in sowing thoughts into our minds that there is nothing special about us and that there was no change in our lives when we became Christians. Satan wants to shut a tight lid on us from ever believing what the Scripture says about us, i.e., that we are more than sons of Adam. We are twice-born saints of the Most High God. We are invested with authority and power to destroy the works of the devil just as our Master did. The Scripture says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work” (1 John 3:8). We are representatives of Christ, called to be ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Just as Christ was given authority to destroy the devil’s work, so also are we. The authority and power of our King, Christ Jesus, is behind us as we represent Him in this world, speaking His Word and doing His works. The Lord is ever looking for His people to express their faith in Him:

21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." 23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." 24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." 25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. 26He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." 27"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Matthew 15:21-28).

Jesus responded to the woman by not answering her. When prayers that you pray are seemingly not heard, it is wise to persist. This woman persisted for her child. Even the disciples came and complained about her constant cries, heartlessly telling Jesus, in front of the woman, to send her away. Let's get the picture clear in our minds of what was happening here. This woman went to the disciples seeking help; perhaps she thought she would not reach an audience with the King of Kings, but the Lord always has time for people. The disciples moaned to Jesus about her to “send her away, for she keeps crying out after us” (v. 23). When they showed no apparent desire to help her, she came to Jesus. I know it seems strange for our Lord, but Jesus didn’t say a word. Jesus finally spoke into the situation by telling her that His primary mission is to another people group, the Jewish people.

Instead of going away, she came closer: “The woman came and knelt before him” (v. 25). She would not be put off! She must have been even more deflated when Jesus told her that it was not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs (Verse 26). I have to believe that there was a twinkle in His eye and a loving smile on His face when He said it because her response was one of great faith, for which, I believe, was what Christ was hoping to see. Faith honors and pleases God more than anything else (Hebrews 11:6). How delighted He was at her response! Her daughter's deliverance and healing were given at that very instant. How often, we don't get what we want from Him merely because we don't persist in going beyond seeming barriers to what we need from the hand of God.

Question 4) To what is Jesus referring to when He talks about the “children’s bread?” (v. 26). What would you have done if you were in her shoes? What do you think kept her persisting?

Bread is a word that is used in Scripture to describe the staple food of the day. “Give us this day our daily bread” is what we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps, if Jesus had been teaching the Lord's Prayer to Asian people, it might have been, "Give us this day our daily rice." How do we interpret what Jesus is saying to the woman? He is intimating that the supernatural works of power, deliverance, and healing are the staple bread of the children of God. She wasn't a child of God because she wasn't born an Israelite, although, since the cross, any Gentile can become a child of God through faith in the finished work of Christ. At that time, the woman didn’t qualify for the children’s bread, i.e., the staple food of being in covenant relationship to the King of Heaven.

 

If you are a child of God by faith in Christ, you do qualify for the children’s bread! You are under the covenant of God. The manifestation of the Spirit’s work is available to each blood-bought child of God. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2). If this woman, who was outside the family of faith, can appeal to the King of Kings for her need for the miraculous power of God to be manifest, how much more should the child of God ask and receive? The problem is not on God's end. He has told us that He will confirm His Word with signs that accompany it (Mark 16:20). We have not because we do not ask in faith. Demons shudder every time a child of God begins to ask God to move supernaturally. When you start to pray, all hell breaks loose to hinder your prayer life, but we must persist in prayer as the woman in the story did. Once a child of God begins to see what power and authority are available to him, the demons and their deceptive game of keeping him believing that he has no power and authority are over. Power and authority over demons is one’s right as a child of God!

 

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you (Luke 10:19).

 

17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well (Mark 16:17-18. Emphasis mine).

 

It doesn’t mean that we are to go looking for demons. Jesus did the work of His Father, and when there was opposition, He dealt with it. In doing the work of the kingdom, we will encounter resistance, but we have the authority to deal with the opposition as we go with the message of the kingdom.  So, I want you to leave with this promise in mind. If you are a child of God, you are in the Family Business. Power and authority have been given to you to be His representative (His ambassador), to speak His Word, and do His works.

 

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12: 32).

Prayer: Father, I pray that You would fill me and equip me to take the power and authority that You have given me to a needy world. Come again to me, Lord Jesus. I believe –help me overcome my unbelief. Please teach me how to walk with You, and do Your works.

8. The Armor of God

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

During this series, we have looked at many Bible passages that record the fact that there is a cosmic war going on in the unseen heavenly realms right here on Earth, a war that rages on, whether people are aware of it or oblivious to it. If you are a Christian, you cannot escape the fact that you are in a spiritual battle. That which is at stake are the lives of men and women who are much loved by God. God does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). As Christians, we have all received our "call-up papers” and are commissioned to play our part by doing all we can to overcome Satan’s schemes and release precious people from his grip and domination.

 

None of us are exempt from this holy task to make known the Gospel and to promote the Kingdom of God. If we had a cure for cancer and kept it to ourselves, it would be a crime against humanity. There is an enemy that has fostered spiritual cancer in our world, and to each of us is given the responsibility of bringing the healing of the disease of sin to the human race. Not all are called to be Bible teachers or pastors, but we all have some part to play. Your role could be in leading small groups, children's or youth work, or involved in outreach to the under-resourced or maybe even in evangelism. There are a million ways the Lord wants to include us, but the main point is that each of us does have a unique task and a unique calling as part of the body of Christ. Being part of the forward movement of the kingdom of God by fulfilling our calling to serve is one of the most effective ways to involve ourselves in this spiritual conflict.

 

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16 emphasis mine).

 

Verse 16 says that God uses servant leaders in the church as ligaments. What do ligaments do? They connect bones and hold organs in place. They are the supporting structure of the Body of Christ, but it is the body that builds itself up in love, each part doing its work. Paul had taught a few verses earlier that God has given various leaders, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, the assignment of preparing God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:11-12). He said the same to the church at Corinth: “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Each of us, as part of the body of Christ, will find ourselves under attack. After all, we have taken on the name of Christ as Christians, and through baptism, we have openly declared our allegiance to Christ.

 

Our enemy, the devil, hates the Lord Jesus Christ, and because of our union with Him, Satan hates us as well. It stands to reason that each of us who are Christians is a target of the spiritual forces set against Christ and the forward advance of the Kingdom of God. We don't all get spiritually attacked to the same degree. Those servant leaders that function as ligaments will receive more of the enemy's time and attention. The enemy seeks to find ways to hinder the work of godly leadership as they equip and teach the body of Christ and help them to grow as Christians:

 

For we wanted to come to you—certainly, I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan stopped us (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

 

The passage above speaks of a time when Paul the Apostle, a supporting ligament in the body of Christ, planned to visit the church at Thessalonica, but in some way (we are not told how), Satan stopped him from visiting them and building them up in their faith, so he wrote to them instead. Of course, not all things that hinder our spiritual growth are things that we can blame on the evil one. There are three areas of battle that we as Christians war against, 1) The world system set up against God (1 John 2:15), 2) Our lower sinful nature (Romans 8:5-11), 3) Our enemy, Satan, and his demons. We do suffer the consequences of poor choices when we give in to the dictates of our sinful nature, but there can also be a lack of faithfulness on our part to obey the Lord. Some things happen to us that are orchestrated by unseen demonic influence, Paul himself said so.

 

Question 1) In what ways in the past have you felt that Satan has slowed or stopped your personal growth? How has Satan hindered the work of the church in your town, city, or country? (Romans 1:13; 15:22).

 

Because all of us who are Christians are part of the body of Christ, none of us are exempt from this conflict and attack by demonic forces. The Scripture says that all who seek to live a godly life in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). In other words, there is opposition from evil forces toward each of us, some more, some less, depending on our level of influence and accountability in the body of Christ. To counter these attacks, Paul the Apostle wrote a letter to the Ephesian church about the five forms of defense and the two ways for us to be on the offensive. We will look at the Offensive Weapons of the Believer in our next study. Let’s look at what Paul says about our spiritual armor.

The Armor of God

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18).

 

At the time he was writing these words, Paul was under house arrest in Rome. Most scholars believe that he was chained to a Roman soldier while he was writing this letter to the church at Ephesus. He used the Roman soldier’s shield, armor, and sword as a metaphor for what he wanted to teach the Ephesians and all who would read his words about overcoming the attacks of Satan. When we have spiritual armor to protect us, in the same way, the Roman soldier's armor protected him; we will be strong, not in ourselves, but in the Lord and in His mighty power, which is more than a match for any demonic spirit.

 

The Defensive Armor of the Believer

As a young believer many years ago, I worked to support my church-planting ministry by working as a painter and decorator. Sometimes, we did sub-contract work together with other painters on significant buildings in the east end of London. I remember working together with some other painters who were also believers. Because of a time crunch on the job, we had to sleep on the situation in our clothes and continue in the morning. In the early morning, as I watched my two friends who were fellow believers, they went through a kind of ritual where they acted through putting on unseen armor while in prayer. If you go through that kind of routine in the morning, I don't want to dissuade you, but I see this armor that Paul talks about as character dispositions. They are not taken off and put on again the next morning. It's not like in a video game where you buy a weapon or armor when you get to a particular stage in the game. This armor about which we are talking is a provision from the Master who has called us to fight.

 

Let’s put it another way. If your nation were to call you up to fight a war, one of the first things you would do would be to go to the quartermaster stores and get your uniform. You don’t buy it; you don’t earn it. It is given to you by the One for whom you are fighting. You don’t tell the quartermaster what kind of armor you would like. He has already thought that through for you and constructed it to His specifications to equip you to face and defeat the enemy you are fighting. Battles are often won or lost on the strength of one’s armor or weaponry. It’s called the Armor of God for a reason. It is not to be the armor of self. I don’t want to trust a helmet of my own making, for it might let me down when there is a crucial blow to the head. I don't want a shield of my willpower; I need an impartation of the kind of faith that God gives. To fight a spiritual enemy, we must have spiritual armor. With those thoughts in mind, let us look now at what our heavenly General would have us put on:

 

(1) The Belt of Truth

The Roman soldier's belt kept everything in place. Ancient combat was mainly hand to hand fighting, so loose-fitting clothing was a liability. Before a battle, the Roman soldier would tuck in his clothes and tighten his belt. In Paul's mind, the truth held everything in place in the Christian warrior's life.

 

Question 2) What does Paul mean by the truth, and why is it so important to a Christian?

 

Paul knew that truth is an integral part of spiritual warfare. Without the truth stabilizing us, we come apart when we try and fight against the enemy. There are three ways that we buckle ourselves with the truth. The first is that of knowing the person of Christ who is the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the embodiment of the truth. When we come into a relationship with Him, we come to truth personified. We are set free in our spirit when we know the person of truth (John 8:32). The second thing that Paul could have had on his mind was that we are to buckle ourselves with a worldview that comes from Scripture. Paul the Apostle, when he was saying goodbye to the elders of Ephesus, said, 26"Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:26-27). When we get to grips with knowing the whole truth about who Jesus is and what He has done, Satan has fewer lies and fiery darts to throw at us. The mature Christian can shrug off the deceptive lying tactics of demons.

 

The third thing that Paul may have been referring to in mentioning truth as a belt is that of the absence of lies and deceit in the heart of the Christian. We are to be truthful in the things that we say and in the lives that we live. We are to live a life of integrity. We are to agree with the truth not only by accepting the Word of God but also by living according to it, i.e., choosing to walk in the light of God. We fall under the condemnation of demons when we are knowingly deceitful. In setting out deliberately to be deceptive, we are opening the door to deceit for the "father of lies."

 

Do not be surprised if this provokes more temptation and trials. The enemy loves to catch us in a lie before unbelievers. When we deal in deceit, we are stepping into the enemy’s territory, and in so doing, we make ourselves vulnerable to attack. Our lack of integrity is a tool in the hand of demons to accuse us and cause us to wilt before our enemy's condemnation. If you find yourself in such a situation, agree with God's word quickly. The enemy will have no hold over you; there is no condemnation for those who accept God's provision for forgiveness!

(2) The Breastplate of Righteousness

When Paul looked at it, a Roman soldier’s breastplate reminded him of how a Christian needs righteousness as a defense of the heart and inner organs. Two possibilities could have been in Paul's mind as he wrote. The first is the need for imputed righteousness. What do we mean by imputed? Imputed means credited to our account as in the case when God spoke to Abraham, our father in the faith, and told him that he would be a father to a multitude of people even though he was old and childless.

 

5He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:5-6).

 

Abraham believed in God. What was God's response to Abraham's faith? Scripture says that righteousness was credited to his spiritual bank account (Genesis 15:5-6). Imputed righteousness puts us in right standing before God, allowing Him to come and live within us by His Spirit. Our right standing with God is not due to our efforts; it is given as a gift when we believe (Romans 4:1-8). That's why we love Him so! God has been so generous and kind toward us in dealing with us in this way. God treats each of us as Christians in the same way He handled Abraham. The Lord imputes the righteousness of Christ to us as a gift when we believe in the substitutionary work of Jesus on the cross. He died for you and as you. By this, I mean that He hung on the cross for your sins, bearing your sins in His body (1 Peter 2:24). When we believe God’s testimony about the finished work of His Son on the cross, He credits righteousness, i.e., the righteousness of Christ, to our spiritual bank account:

 

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

When the enemy comes to you with accusations of what you have said and done wrong, we can reply that Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The Greek word translated “finished” is an accounting term, which means paid in full. He has paid my debt of sin. There is nothing that can be done to add to the righteousness that Christ imparts to us upon believing. It is not ninety-five percent of Jesus' work and five percent of our work. It is all of Jesus! Christ has fully paid the debt. The believer who knows what Christ has done for him can laugh at the enemy's vain attempt at saying that the believer is not good enough. Christ is our righteousness.

 

Paul could also be pointing out that the breastplate of righteousness speaks of walking a life of right living before God. If this is the interpretation to which Paul was referring, he may have been concerned that the enemy’s darts could find a lodging place in the heart of a believer if he or she is not living a life of confession and repentance. We are to walk in the light as He is in the light:

 

7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9).

Living in God's forgiveness calls for a life of vulnerability before God and others. The enemy's darts of accusation and condemnation cannot lodge in the heart if one is living a life of obedience and right living before God and his or her brothers and sisters in Christ. However, when we sin, we need to be open and vulnerable to God about it and talk to Him about our sin. Ask Him for forgiveness, and if something was done to someone else, to get it right with that person. Sometimes, restitution is needed. If so, don’t delay in paying it.

I remember one occasion when I was a young believer and still working as a commercial fisherman; I was working my father's boat alone one night, which was a dangerous thing to do. There was one particular area called the Stone Banks where lots of fish would feed on the abundant levels of worm found there. I towed my nets several times over the Stone Banks before heading home as it began to be daylight. As the day came, I noticed someone else's trammel nets caught on the Otter Boards of my trawl net. Someone else had laid this long wall of netting across the Stone Banks before it got dark, not knowing that I was going to fish there during the night. The Holy Spirit prompted me to find out who had laid nets there and to go and pay him the cost of new nets. When this thought first came to me, my immediate defensive response to God was to inform the Lord that the other fisherman did not set lights on his buoys, so I was not liable. I did not need to pay him. However, the Holy Spirit would not let me go, and I could not get peace about it.

Several hours later, I gave up resisting the Spirit's promptings and went to see Les Smith, the owner of the nets. I confessed to him that I had accidentally destroyed his nets and gave him the money for brand new nets. I still remember the look on his face that someone would do such a thing. He knew that his loss was his fault. It was a testimony that rang around the community of fishermen. Something "different" had happened to Keith Thomas. You can never imagine the joy I felt inside at being obedient to the Spirit and making restitution for something I did that had brought difficulty to someone else’s life. It is right living that honors God.

In some situations, the Spirit of God may require you to be accountable to a close friend in your small group who can hold you to account for a particular sin that gets the best of you. Being open to others in this way takes the deception and hypocrisy out of the picture and is a breastplate of righteousness to the enemy’s attacks. Here is what James wrote concerning being vulnerable to other Christians:

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

Question 3) To whom are we to confess our sins? What happens when a person forgets to get things right not only with God but also with others?

As our Father, God will at times discipline His people. By His discipline, we see that we are His children (Hebrews 12:7-8). It sure will be more comfortable on us if we have a short account with God and we think of the day's affairs before going to bed at night. Be sensitive to keep your heart clean before God by daily confession and repentance of sin. God's power to say no to sin and temptation has been given to us when we believed and received the Spirit. We are empowered to live a righteous life because we have right standing with God.

 

(3) Feet Fitted with the Gospel of Peace

Paul next looks at the Roman soldier’s feet. He sees the caliga or half-boots with nails in them to grip the ground in combat. Without the studs at the bottom of the soles, the Roman soldier would be slipping on the ground when in battle. We cannot stand our ground before our spiritual enemies if we don't have peace with God, and the peace of God.

 

Jesus came as a mediator between God and man. Paul wrote that there was only one mediator between God and man; that person is Jesus the Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). We cannot stand our ground before the enemy without having the peace of God reigning in our hearts. When a man is born again of the Spirit of God (John 3:3), there comes a deep settled peace with God, where the person knows in the depths of his heart that his soul is at rest before God. Paul the apostle said,

 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).

 

Not only does a Christian have peace with God, but he is given the peace of God: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27). When a Christian is faced with life-threatening danger, he has a deep settled peace that passes all understanding.

 

Eric Barker was a missionary from Great Britain who had spent over fifty years in Portugal preaching the gospel, often under adverse conditions. During World War Two, the situation became so critical that he took the advice to send his wife and eight children to England for safety. His sister and her three children were evacuated on the same ship. Barker remained behind to conclude some mission matters. The Sunday after Barker's loved ones had left, he stood before the congregation and said, "I've just received word that all my family has arrived safely home." He then proceeded with the service as usual. Later, the full meaning of his words became known to the people. He had been handed a telegram just before the meeting, informing him that a submarine had torpedoed the ship, and everyone on board had drowned. Barker knew that all on board were believers, and the knowledge that his family was enjoying the bliss of heaven enabled him to live above his circumstances in spite of his overwhelming grief.[1]

 

Question 4) Do you have a particular strategy to overcome or counter anxious or worrisome thoughts? Do you have a story of peace in the middle of trying circumstances?

 

Another person who sees the same circumstances and does not have Christ ruling and reigning in his heart finds it difficult not to worry and be anxious. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). People often come to Christ when they see the peace that a Christian has when in tough circumstances. Everyone longs for this kind of peace. It is very evident when you have this peace in your life, especially when you face troubled times.

 

(4) The Shield of Faith

The Roman shield that Paul was viewing in the room with him was the scutum, a sizeable door-sized shield that the Roman soldier could fit his whole body behind when arrows, darts, and spears were coming toward him. The size of the shield was around four feet high and two and a half feet wide. It was made of two layers of laminated wood and overlaid with animal hide, linen, and iron. When a fiery dart or arrow pierced the shield, it was snuffed out as it buried itself into the shield. Paul pictures the believer's faith as a spiritual shield. When the enemy fires a dart of accusation, temptation, guilt or any other of those sins in his quiver, the Christian replies with faith in God. What is faith? It is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

 

We cannot see the heavenly resources that are at our disposal, but we are confident, by faith, that God is with us and He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). When we know the truth of that promise, we can endure all things that the enemy throws at us. Our faith protects us from the lies and discouragements that can so easily wound us. It changes our perspective and colors everything we view, filtering it all through the shield of faith, removing the poisonous darts before they can settle in our hearts and infect us.

 

Another thing that may have been in Paul's mind was how the Roman soldiers used their shields. They moved as a unit of one and interlocked their shields to cover all sides so that they were all protected from arrows as they moved forward. In the same way, we ought to watch out for each other. When we fight the fight of faith, we all benefit from each other. Watch out for your brother and sister in Christ by speaking the truth in love and by caring for one another. We are to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). As we support one another in this way, we bolster each other’s effectiveness in this spiritual battle that we fight together. We are not just an “army of one;” we are an army made up of many members, with one Captain of our salvation.

(5) The Helmet of Salvation

The fifth piece of armor that Paul mentions is the Roman helmet. He typifies it as a helmet of salvation. Perhaps the thought in Paul's mind was that the enemy targets the mind in spiritual warfare. His attack, especially to a young, immature believer, usually seeks to dismiss the very existence of God. Doubts fly through the air in the same way as a sword attacks the head. It is then that you do not want a bag on your head instead of a helmet provided by the heavenly quartermaster. The assurance of salvation is there as protection over the mind. The inner witness of the Spirit that we are God's children protects a person's mind as a helmet protects the head: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children” (Romans 8:16). We can face every demonic attack knowing that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Whatever trial or hardship, persecution, famine, danger or sword that life throws at us, we know that we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. Paul says:

 

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

 

When we know, deep down, that nothing can separate us from God’s love, not even demonic powers, angels, or demons, our minds are firmly secure in the Lord. Our minds are the most significant battleground, and that is why it is so essential for us to win the battle in our minds. To cover and protect our minds with the helmet of salvation, we immerse our minds in the truth of God’s Word that our salvation is complete and does not rely on us.  It is a finished work that God has accomplished for us.

 

Question 5) Which part of your spiritual defensive armor do you most need to strengthen right now? (You may want to break up into groups of two or three and pray for one another after being transparent about your spiritual needs).

 

Prayer: Father, come again to Your children who today read these words. Protect them from the evil one. Grant them a fresh filling today by your Spirit. Help Your children to find their place of service in the Body of Christ. Amen.

9. Offensive Weapons of the Believer

The War Against Satan and Demons

 

In the last study, we looked at the defensive armor that God has given us. In this study, we will look at three offensive weapons of the Spirit of God the believer can use in warfare against our evil enemy. There are two that Paul mentions in his letter to the Ephesian church, and one that I see elsewhere in Scripture that also causes chaos to the unseen realm of evil spirits. These three weapons are the Word of God, Prayer, and Praise/Worship. We will look at the sword of the Spirit first, which is the Word of God.

 

1. The Sword of the Spirit

 

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote to the believers while chained to a Roman soldier. This soldier’s task was to guard Paul during his house arrest. As Paul observed the Roman soldier's armor, it is possible he was inspired to think of the armor God gives us for our spiritual battles as he pens these words:

 

17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:17-18).

 

The sword attached to the soldier's belt served as a metaphor for the Word of God. The kind of sword Paul mentions is the machaira, the short, double-edged sword, usually only eighteen inches long, razor-sharp, and very light. It was most effective in hand-to-hand combat. This type of weapon was most useful when confronting your enemy at close range, which we, as believers must do, as we sometimes find it necessary to "wrestle" with our enemy, evil spiritual forces in the unseen realms (Ephesians 6:12). This sword was used to parry or deflect every sword thrust by an adversary, but also used as an offensive weapon in the hand of the Roman soldier. We have our Lord Jesus Christ as a model in using this weapon as a defensive and offensive tool against the enemy. When the Holy Spirit led Christ to battle with Satan in the wilderness, in each of the three temptations Jesus used the sword of the Word of God to parry each attack of the enemy.

 

Do not make the mistake of underestimating the power of this weapon. First of all, it is not a weapon of your own making. It is not, for example, the “sword” of Keith Thomas (you may enter your name here), but the sword of the Spirit. Think about that! Unlike an ordinary weapon, this weapon is divine. It is powerful in the hands of the believer and does not depend upon your strength or ability but in the power of the weapon itself. This power is directly connected to the King we serve, and He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords! His words used in His name carry His authority. Under the Spirit’s direction, the Word of God applied to a specific situation in which you find yourself has great power.

 

God’s Word is authoritative. Period. He can give you a word in a particular time, which comes to you when you need it. It is Spirit-breathed for the instant you need it. For instance, in my early twenties, I had given my life over to selfish living, just following my impulses and desires. Out of nowhere, it seemed, thoughts about eternity started to surface. (I now understand from where these thoughts came, for it became evident that people were praying for me at this time!) I started to question all sorts of things, e.g., for what was I living? What was I to accomplish while I am on earth? I would try to deal with these thoughts by brushing them aside as they were troubling to me. I tried my best to ignore them. It was not that these thoughts were not important to me, but instead, it was frustrating because I had no answers that satisfied me.

 

Then one day, I discovered a book which spoke about the last days, something in which I was highly interested.  God used my curiosity to open my heart to His reality. In that book, the writer was describing the return of Christ, and the separation of believers from unbelievers. I thought that, because I was born in a “Christian country,” I was a Christian, but the writer used one Scripture that hooked me in the heart. It was, “He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathers not, scatters” (Matthew 12:30). The writer explained that there is no fence for us on which to sit. You are in God's Kingdom, or you are outside of it. There is no middle ground. All of a sudden, I saw that, when Jesus would come, I would not be in God’s kingdom, for I did not know Christ Jesus. I was like a fish caught on a hook of Scripture. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get off of that hook! God used that Scripture in my life to prod me to seek the truth, and the Lord did not let me have peace until I finally gave my life to Christ. The truth of God’s word through that Scripture woke me up and caused me to continue to search. It changed the course of my life.

 

Martin Luther, the great reformer, had a similar experience with the Word of God stuck in him. He had read the Scripture, “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17), but the church at the time believed that a person could enter into eternal life by his good works. While on a trip to Rome, as a religious work to earn peace and forgiveness, he was told that he would get peace inside his heart by climbing on his knees the twenty-eight white marble steps of the Lateran Staircase. As he moved from step to step, the Spirit would not let him go, but at each step, the thought came to his mind, "The just shall live by faith.” He heard this in his mind, repeating with each step, “The just shall live by faith!” He saw that justification [God’s act of removing the guilt and penalty of sin] was by faith alone and not by a man’s works. These truths flew in the face of everything taught at the time, and he was being called by God to raise the banner of God's Word over the traditions of men. This revelation was a turning point for him, and in turn, for those who would hear his words as he returned to Germany a changed man, ignited with a fresh revelation of the Word of God.

 

We have a further example of the power of the Word of God in Scripture. After the resurrection of Christ, on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples came out of the Upper Room where they were filled with the Spirit, the several thousand Jews gathered had the Apostle Peter speak the Word of God to them. “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37). The Word of God spoken by Peter was like a sword that cut to the inner core of their hearts.

 

Question 1) Has there been a Scripture that the Spirit of God has used in your life? Share how this happened and how you responded to it.

 

Do not underestimate the power of the Word of God that is at work in and through the believer in Christ:

 

12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 Emphasis mine).

 

In nineteenth-century America, God touched the life of Charles Finney. He was a man that gave himself to prayer and the ministry of the Word of God. The Lord used him much in preaching from church to church. The presence of the Spirit was on him to such a degree that people that heard him would come under great conviction of heart and feel cut to their very inner being. On one occasion when Finney was preaching in a schoolhouse, "Suddenly an awful solemnity fell upon the assembly, and the congregation fell from their seats, crying for mercy." Finney said, "If I had had a sword in each hand I could not have cut them off as fast as they fell. I think the whole congregation was on their knees or prostrated in two minutes." The crying and weeping of the people were so loud that Finney's appeal of Christ's mercy could not be heard. "Finney seemed so anointed with the Holy Spirit that people came under conviction of sin just by looking at him. When holding meetings at Utica, New York, he visited a large factory. At the sight of him, one of the workers, and then another, and then another broke down and wept under a sense of their sins, and finally so many were sobbing and weeping that the machinery had to be stopped while Finney pointed them to Christ.”[1]

 

When we wield the sword of the Spirit, the presence of God, the Word of God, and the authority of God is behind God’s Word, and it inflicts terrible damage on Satan and his demons. As disciples, we are ambassadors of Christ, and the authority of the government of God is behind us. We all have people around us, e.g., spouses, family, friends, and co-workers that over time have steeled themselves against our biblical worldview. They are under the deception of the enemy and have a veil over their hearts: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Be open to the Spirit of God. He can give you a word that will “pierce” through all the lies, which blind you from the light of God’s truth. The Spirit of God knows people’s inner-most thoughts and defenses. He knows their needs and unanswered questions. Ask Him for His inspired words to get past the defenses that the enemy has set up! His words can pierce these defenses and bring them the light of His truth. The more you spend time in the word of God and soak up His words, the easier it will be to have the Spirit of God bring these words to your remembrance. Jesus said: “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).

 

We need to be acquainted with the Word of God. When Satan came saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:3), Jesus replied by quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written: Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Just as the physical body needs bread, the staple diet of the Israelite, so the believer in Christ needs to be sustained by daily meditation on the Word of God to be spiritually healthy and overcome the evil one. The Word of God is a heavenly bread for our spirit.

 

2. Prayer in the Spirit

We could be tempted to think that Paul only mentions one offensive weapon, but It is possible that his second one could not be typified by any part of a Roman soldier's armor, so he mentioned prayer without making an analogy to the Roman soldier. Here is Paul’s second offensive spiritual weapon:

 

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).

 

Question 2) What do you think is in Paul’s mind when he instructs us to pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests?

 

There are some among the Church worldwide who would say that Paul is talking about praying in an unknown tongue. They would remind us of two verses from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian believers:

 

2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.

14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful (1 Corinthians 14:2, 14).

 

In talking about offensive prayer (Ephesians 6:18), it is my personal belief that Paul is talking about all kinds of Spirit-led and empowered prayer that breaks down every demonic stronghold, not only in people but also in territory that is dominated by demonic spirits. Some of this may be individuals who are led to pray in an unknown tongue but do not discount praying in your own language, as the Spirit influences you. Paul is very clear when he writes that not all Christians speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30). The Corinthians were a very gifted group of people, but I can’t see him telling the believers in Ephesus that praying in the Spirit was to pray only in tongues. The Body of Christ is a multi-faceted spiritual organism that uses the gifts and talents of us all to pull down spiritual strongholds through many different kinds of prayer. Spirit-led prayer is always backed up by the authority of God and the presence of the Spirit.

 

We have an example of this type of prayer in Acts 4:23-31 after Peter and John were put in jail by the Jewish leadership for the “crime” of healing the lame man at the gate called Beautiful. The court appearance before the Sanhedrin was set for the next day. Peter, under the control and influence of the Spirit, spoke fearlessly and told the Chief Priests, Scribes, and leaders that they would not stop speaking about Jesus. They were released after many threats. Notice what the believers did after they were threatened:

 

23When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is you who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David your servant, said, ‘why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things? 26‘the kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ.’ 27“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29“And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” 31And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:23-31).

 

The early disciples saw that their fight was not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces. How did they respond to this demonic persecution? They prayed passionately with voices raised to God. They didn’t take turns to pray; they all prayed out loud in unison in various kinds of languages as the Spirit led them. In this instance, the very place where the believers were joined together was shaken after they raised their voices to God in Spirit-empowered prayer. The result of this kind of prayer was that the room where they were gathered was shaken under the power of the Spirit as again, the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the message of God with boldness.

 

We have a modern-day example of Spirit-led prayer overcoming demonic strongholds over a city in Argentina.  In the book by C. Peter Wagner, Warfare Prayer pages 30-34, there is the story of a strategy to reach the city of Resistencia in the northern province of Chaco, Argentina. Ed Silvoso, an Argentinean evangelist, initiated a three-year plan to change the spiritual atmosphere over the city so that people could hear and respond to the Gospel. As of the beginning of 1990, fewer than 6,000 of its 400,000 population were evangelical believers, a mere 1.5 percent.  He moved members of his Harvest Evangelism team into Resistencia and for over a year laid a foundation of prayer, spiritual warfare, and leadership training. They had Cindy Jacobs, a lady gifted with intercessory prayer, lead two seminars on warfare prayer.  The people responded well and wanted to take authority over their city the next morning. 

 

Silvoso writes,

A group of 80 showed up and marched into the Plaza de Mayo of Buenos Aires, praying for five hours of intense battle against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. Among other things, the group sensed a spirit of witchcraft and a spirit of death in the Ministry of Social Welfare building where President Peron’s notorious warlock, Jose Lopez Riga, had maintained his office. When the group left the plaza, they felt a sense of victory. The principalities and powers were not destroyed, but warfare prayer had in some measure begun to weaken the evil hold on Argentina. Over the city of Resistencia, the people all knew the names of the spirits that were ruling over the city. San La Muerte, the spirit of death, was perhaps the most powerful. 

 

A large number of citizens of Resistencia were so devoted to San La Muerte that they had little bone images of his idol surgically implanted under their skin or under their nipples, believing the false promise that this will assure them of a "good death." Other spirits of equal rank turned out to be Pombero, a spirit of division who brought terror, especially to children during the siesta time and at night; Curapi, a spirit of sexual perversion, the Queen of Heaven, a religious spirit, who had perverted the true character of the traditional church; and the spirit of Freemasonry, a cleverly disguised form of occult power.  Surprisingly, the images of these spirits and their activities were depicted on several large folk art murals in the central plaza of the city.

 

What was the outcome? Ed Silvoso reports that the growth graphs of the churches in Resistencia took a decided turn upward beginning in April when the group prayed in the plaza. In one public event, 250 people were baptized in portable pools. Crowds of almost 17,000 packed into an open field for evangelistic meetings where objects used in occult rituals and witchcraft were burned in a fifty-five-gallon drum each night. Hundreds were healed physically and delivered from demons.  At least eighteen new churches started. Most significant of all, the evangelical Christian population of Resistencia virtually doubled in the calendar year of 1990. Perhaps, a weakening sign of the territorial spirits over Resistencia was the tragic fate of the high priestess of the cult of San La Muerte, the spirit of death. Two weeks before the massive evangelistic thrust and after the time of prayer in the center of the city, her bed caught fire. For some reason, the flames seemed to be selective. They consumed only the mattress, the woman, and her statue of San La Muerte![2]

 

Now, I certainly do not advocate any single person taking on spirits in this way. These believers were over eighty people in one accord and Spirit-led in what they were doing. I am using the story to illustrate the fact that these things are real and that Jesus has won the victory over them at the cross. When the Body of Christ works together under godly inspired leadership, whole towns and cities are won to Christ. Are you a part of a biblical expression of Jesus Christ in your town or city? If not, begin to seek the Lord to show you where you are to fellowship. We need each other. It has always been the pattern. Something special happens when God’s people stand together in unity. It is essential that you have other believers in Christ around you. Being accountable somewhere is a strong defense to you as a believer. It keeps you from being isolated and, therefore, more vulnerable. If you are not yet a believer, perhaps today is your day. The Bible says that today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Why not reach out to Him with all your heart today?

 

Question 3) If the leaders of the church in your city or town called for massive intercessory prayer, such as that spoken of above, would you go? Would you be reluctant to pray out loud? What would it take to move you to a place where you could cry out to God in prayer with others as described in the above passage in Acts?

 

The Lord honors and works through those who lean on Him in difficulties and dependence. He longs to show us that He is our Father and well able to answer our heartfelt Spirit-led prayers. I don’t know about you, but I sense the winds of difficulty blowing this way more and more, and we should be prepared by taking time out of our day to practice impassioned and Spirit-led prayer.

 

3. The Weapon of Praise.

Although Paul does not mention this weapon of the Spirit in his letter to the Ephesians, I think there is a case for bringing it into view when talking about the weapons of the believer.

 

1Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod, the tetrarch) and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off (Acts 13:1-3).

 

In this case, worship is not used as a weapon but as a means of drawing close to God and dialing down their hearts to listen and expect to hear what the Spirit would say to the Antioch church. How few churches there is today that take time out and genuinely want input from the Spirit of God as to the direction that the church should go! Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail” (Matthew 16:18). Do we ask the Spirit of God to speak and lead and for the Lord to build His church? In this instance in the Book of Acts, worship and prayer took place to get God’s mind on how to build. We should not abandon this method in favor of “big business models.” Many pastors have been disappointed to find that what works in one church, does not work for them. God has a strategy for your city, town, village. He is all you need. Yes, He does use men. He can give you tools and insight. God also wants to lead you by His Spirit! He wants to show you. Join together, and humble yourself. Pray. Listen. Work in unity. He will act.

 

Worship was indeed a weapon used against a demonically inspired attack on Israel by a considerable army formed by a union between the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah at the time, gathered all the people to Jerusalem, and they all began to cry out to the Lord in intense prayer, confessing their inability to defend their families against the attack. God spoke prophetically to them while they were fasting and praying to God for deliverance.

 

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you (2 Chronicles 20:15-17).

 

What was God's plan? The direction given was to have their army have the worship team lead them against the enemy. They were not to fight this battle—God was going to fight for them. Under the direction of the Spirit, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army:

 

22As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped (2 Chronicles 20:22-24).

 

What does this teach us? At the Lord’s direction, Spirit-inspired worship took place with the result that the demonically inspired attack was broken down by God moving on behalf of His people, not requiring them to fight at all physically. They were not to compete in their strength, but they relied on His power. The Lord set an ambush for Israel’s enemies, and the enemy fought against one another and destroyed themselves.

 

The power of praise is also illustrated by an incident told by David Wilkerson in one of his books. According to the story, in the early part of his work among the gangs in New York City he encountered a group of boys on a street corner. As he approached them, there were signs that they were preparing to attack. Looking to the Lord for guidance, he continued his advance. At the instant they seemed poised to strike, David suddenly clapped his hands and shouted: "Praise the Lord!" According to the account, the entire gang broke ranks and fled. The only plausible explanation for their action is that these boys were activated by evil spirits who panicked at the shout of praise. But the story which, in my opinion, dwarfs all others in this category concerns a well-documented incident which took place near Holton, Indiana. According to the account, an evangelist had come to the local church for a series of evangelistic services. To be alone for prayer and meditation, the minister went out into a nearby field. He did not know that a dangerous bull was in the area until the attack was underway. When he saw the bull charging it was too late to run to safety, he did not know what to do. He thought he had come to his end. But just before the enraged animal reached him, he shouted, "Praise the Lord!" The bull halted in its tracks immediately turned and fled.[3]

 

At different times in my life, I have sensed God pushing me into situations where I have had to look to Him to take the controls and for me to stand behind Him and watch Him control the situation. I remember the time when Sandy, my wife, and I went on a mission trip to Israel with a return ticket that enabled us to come back after a year. When Sandy became pregnant with our daughter, Anna, we came back after staying just over seven months. Our mission was to love the people of that beautiful land. We did not have money for the entire stay, but enough to begin, and God asked us to trust Him. We knew that He could and would provide for us. We were not disappointed! It was a time of testing, learning, and growing in our faith. God met us supernaturally in so many ways, day by day. We lived by faith, trusting God to meet our needs just as He promised in His Word (Matthew 6:31-33). God uses our difficulties and trials as a way of forcing us to look to Him and trust Him.

 

While in Israel during the early stages of Sandy’s pregnancy, the life of our child, Anna, was threatened. Early bleeding and other symptoms caused us to seek out a doctor in Bethlehem. He had all the latest equipment, and he used ultrasound to listen for a heartbeat. However, he was convinced that there was no heartbeat, that it was, in fact, a tumor. An operation was scheduled, and we went home in shock, not knowing what to think. The confusing part was that we had felt that we had a word from God telling us the name for this baby! She was to be called “Anna,” after Anna, the prophetess, mentioned in Luke 2: 36-38. Why would God give us this word, this hope, only to take it away and replace it with what seemed like a stone? We thought that we had received a blessing from God, only to be faced with a “mountain” of a problem! Sandy and I called our friends at the church that we attended. They all stood with us in prayer. God spoke to us from a Scripture from the Old Testament Book of Zechariah. I will quote from the King James version as that is how it was given to us at the time; “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the headstone of it with shoutings, crying Grace, grace unto it” (Zechariah 4:6-7).

 

Now, I am fully aware that this Scripture speaks of a specific time and a particular act in Scripture. However, this is the marvelous thing about God's Word. Somehow, He can take a word like this and ignite your heart for a particular situation, and that is what He did. Sandy and I stepped out in faith and obedience to what we perceived to be God's Rhema word to us. We laid hands on Sandy's abdomen and spoke the words of the text, "grace, grace" loudly!

 

Afterward, we lifted our voices together in praise and proclamation. We felt a feeling of peace about the whole thing and proceeded with our appointment at the doctors. I do not know what the doctor made of the situation when we returned to his office. He expected to continue with the operation, which would have removed what he thought to be a tumor, but what, in fact, was a baby! Before doing the DNC operation, we asked him to check by doing one more ultrasound before the surgery. The doctor had not planned on doing this, but he could see that Sandy was visibly very distraught, so he agreed. He was astounded to hear the heartbeat, and see the amniotic sac, something that was not visible before. I do not know if the doctor was wrong the first time, or if this was a creative miracle. All I know is that we were given hope through God’s word, and our daughter was a miracle to us!

 

Not every story in our lives has had a triumphant answer like this one. Sometimes, we suffer and do not understand why. In everything, God can be glorified, and in this, there is always victory. When we realize that He sifts everything that comes to us through His own hands, we can trust in His love. Our success is the victory He has already won for us. His strength is our strength; His armor is our armor. He does not ask us to fight this battle by ourselves but offers us His power and His peace amid the storm. The battle indeed does belong to the Lord.

*We named our daughter Anna Grace. Anna is a Latin form of the Hebrew name Hannah. It means “favor” or “grace.” We had settled on the name “Anna” before this experience as we chose it from Luke chapter 2 before Sandy even became pregnant. That is why we chose the middle name, Grace, so that her name, in its meaning would be “grace, grace.”  It reminds us of how He gave us grace in this situation.

 

Prayer: Thank you, King Jesus, for being the Captain of our Salvation, our High Tower, our Fortress, and our shelter in the storm. For all that You are and all that You do on our behalf, we thank You and give You praise!

Study 9. Fasting: God's Secret Weapon.

Growing Faith in God

 

Warm-up Question: What is the most unusual food you have ever eaten?

 

In 1977, I lived for four months in Israel, the first of three times in the Holy Land. Most of the time was spent in Jerusalem, with a few long weekends in Haifa, Beersheba, and Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee. I was staying with a group of about 30 people, mostly young Christians. During this time, I learned a lot about spiritual disciplines. I also experienced a close community and a deep bond of fellowship, which influenced my early years as a new Christian. We would worship three nights a week at the Church of Saint Peter in Gallicantu on Mount Zion (Galli-cantu means the place of the cock-crow in Latin). This site was where Jesus was held until the morning, the same place where Peter denied that he knew Jesus. The church building was built on the grounds of the residence of Caiaphas, the High Priest in the time of Jesus. The presence of God would be in those meetings, and many times we would see healings.

 

My friends there gave themselves to long fasts, sometimes as much as forty day’s duration on just water. I noticed during the times of fasting that there was a level of faith and power that was beyond what I had experienced. I was a young Christian at the time, but I observed that many of the people I lived with fasted regularly. It seemed to be an essential part of their Christian experience, and I knew that they expected me to fast also. I decided that this was something I needed to learn about and practice. I must admit that even though we had all decided to fast every Monday and Wednesday until sundown, I sometimes broke my fast on a bread roll and a banana when I was away from the group. It was hard to fast when someone else was expecting me to. I needed motivation for fasting. Fasting for the sake of disciplining the body was not enough for me—I love food too much! I had to have a reason to fast. It helped me to understand what the Bible says about fasting. Although we do not hear very much on this topic in the Western Christian church today, it was a vital part of the lives of the early church.

 

Jesus Expected that His Disciples Would Fast

 

Behind our regular twice a week fasting was the desire to be obedient to Jesus on the three things that He has required of all Christians to regularly practice, found in Matthew’s gospel, chapter six, verses 1-18:

 

  1. The discipline of giving to the needs of those who are without (verses 1-4).

  2. The regular discipline of prayer (verses 5-15).

  3. The discipline of fasting (verses 16-18).