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Spiritual Warfare. ESC Adult Sunday School August 14 & 21 September 4, 2011 James Lam. References. Spiritual Warfare NEWT/SPIR 529 Dr. Roy Matheson Boyd, Gregory. God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict. IV Press, 1997.

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spiritual warfare

Spiritual Warfare

ESC Adult Sunday School

August 14 & 21

September 4, 2011

James Lam

  • Spiritual Warfare NEWT/SPIR 529 Dr. Roy Matheson
  • Boyd, Gregory. God at War: The Bible and Spiritual Conflict. IV Press, 1997.
  • Arnold, Clinton. 3 Crucial Questions About Spiritual Warfare. Baker,1997.
  • Anderson, Neil T. The Bondage Breaker. Harvest House, 2000.
  • Anderson, Neil T. and Warner, Timothy. The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare. Regal, 2008.
  • MacArthur, Jr. John. How to Meet the Enemy. Chariot Victor, 1992.
  • Rankin, Jerry. Spiritual Warfare: The Battle for God’s Glory. B&H, 2009.
  • Murphy, Ed. The Handbook for Spiritual Warfare. Thomas Nelson, 2003.
  • Biblical worldview of spiritual warfare
  • Tension between the two ages
  • Our three enemies  world, flesh, devil
  • The Christian life as a struggle
  • Recognizing the dominion of darkness
  • Resisting the dominion of darkness
  • Putting on the full armor of God
  • Making your home a spiritual refuge
a working definition
A Working Definition

Spiritual Warfare is an awareness of the spiritual dynamics taking place around us in order to engage in spiritual conflict using our God given resources.

another definition
Another definition

“A war of universal proportions pitting God and His truth against Satan and his lies. It’s a battle of wills between God and Satan. It’s a cosmic conflict that involves God and the highest creature He ever made and it filters down to every human being. Satan and his army of demons are fighting Christ, His holy angels, the nation of Israel, and believers. The battle lines are clearly drawn.”

John MacArthur, How to Meet the Enemy

biblical worldview
Biblical Worldview
  • Versus Western worldview  overly scientific, naturalistic, humanistic, individualistic
  • Versus Animistic worldview  overly superstitious
  • Biblical worldview collides head-on with above worldviews
  • Biblical worldview corresponds to reality
  • Avoids two extremes
  • Scripture be our guide
preliminary cautions
Preliminary Cautions
  • We may foster a fascination with evil

“Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil” (Romans 16:19)

“Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20)

  • We may give the devil more than his due
tension between the two ages
Tension between the Two Ages
  • The Present Evil Age
    • Satan as “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4)
  • The Age to Come/Kingdom of God
    • Jesus as inaugurator and King of a new age and reign of righteousness
    • “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev. 21:4)
already but not yet
  • Already…
    • Kingdom has come
    • Jesus in principle won the war, struck the decisive deathblow, vanquished Satan, restored humanity, established the kingdom; set in motion forces that will overthrow
    • We are now participants in the age to come
  • Not yet…eschatological
    • Kingdom not yet full manifested
    • War is not finished; conflict does not cease
    • Battles must still be fought before ultimate victory
    • Eternal life
some of kingdom manifestations already
Some of kingdom manifestations – “Already”
  • Empowering presence of the Holy Spirit
  • Union and close relationship with Christ
  • Reception and manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
  • Ability to break free from the bondage of sin
  • Authority over evil spirits
our three enemies
Our Three Enemies

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed…

[the world] the ways of this world and of

[the devil] the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying

[the flesh] the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath

(Ephesians 2:1-3)

the flesh
The flesh
  • Inner propensity or inclination to do evil
  • Part of our creatureliness tainted by the fall that remains with us
  • Continuing connection to this present evil age, which is destined to perish but against which we struggle
  • As Christians we are new creatures and influence of flesh has been broken by Christ’s death on the cross
  • Resist inner compulsion by power of the Holy Spirit
the world
The world
  • Unhealthy social environment in which we live
  • Represents the prevailing worldview assumptions contrary to biblical understanding of reality and biblical values
  • Our culture has profound influence on the way we think and act
  • Christians embark on lifelong task of discerning worldly influence and adopt godly attitudes and values
the devil
The devil
  • Angelic network – angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, rulers, principalities, powers
  • Highest angel blameless from day of his creation; sin was NOT an inherent part of the being God created
  • The fall of Satan (Ezek. 28:12-18; Isa. 14:12-15)
    • Rebelled against God because of his pride
    • Lucifer means “star of the morning” and “son of the dawn”
    • Lucifer became Satan when God cast him out of heaven
    • “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning” (Lk. 10:18)
the army of satan
The Army of Satan
  • When Satan fell, he did not fall alone
  • “swept away a third of the stars of heaven” (Rev. 12:4)
  • Fallen angels or demons allied with Satan
  • Angels neither procreate nor die (Matt. 22:30)
  • Army of demons highly organized…believers struggle “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12)
  • Unseen spiritual global conspiracy (tight-knit lethal organization)
satan s rule
Satan’s rule
  • Satan has illegitimately seized the world and exercises a controlling influence over it (1 Jn. 5:19)
  • “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4)
  • “ruler of this world” (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)
  • “ruler of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2)
  • “strong man” (Mk. 3:27)
  • “tempter” (1 Thess. 3:5)
  • “roaring lion” (1 Pet.5:8)
  • “accuser” (Ps. 109:6; Rev. 12:10)
  • “deceiver of the world” (Rev. 12:9)
  • “father of lies” (Jn. 8:44)
  • “murderer” (Jn. 8:44)
  • NOT omnipresent like God
  • Jesus did not dispute Satan’s rulership of the earth, but He refused to give in to Satan’s temptation and worship him (Lk. 4:5-8)
three stranded rope
Three Stranded Rope
  • 3 influences do not work separately, but in concert
  • Large area of overlap
  • Holds us in bondage prior to coming to Christ
  • Satan works in harmony with the flesh
  • Activity of the devil closely connected to the world
  • Implications for life and ministry
the christian life as a struggle
The Christian Life as a Struggle
  • “our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12)
  • Involves strenuous effort, stamina, and proper spiritual fitness
  • Struggle is a daily affair
  • Supernatural opponents  hierarchy/rankings
    • Rulers (principalities)
    • Authorities
    • Powers of this dark world
    • Spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realm
warfare in the garden
Warfare in the Garden
  • The world (God created a perfect environment)
  • The flesh (God created a perfect man and woman – before they sinned)
  • The devil (Satan, disguised as a serpent)
    • Attacks against the mind of Eve
    • Assaults God’s motives and God’s character
the enemy s strategy deception
The Enemy’s Strategy - Deception

Recognizing Satan’s Lies (Gen. 3:1-5)

  • Lie # 1 – “Did God really say?”
    • Satan wanted Eve to doubt God
    • Undermined God’s character and credibility
  • Lie # 2 – “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”
    • Distorted God’s commands
    • Questioned fairness of God’s commands – God had a selfish, ulterior motive in forbidding Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil
  • Lie # 3 – “You will not surely die”
    • There is no death, no afterlife, no hell, no consequences for sin
    • God will not see your sin
    • God is too merciful to punish sin
  • Lie # 4 – For God knows that when you eat of it…”
    • God is keeping important knowledge from you
    • God is not concerned for what is good for you or mankind
  • Lie # 5 – “your eyes will be opened”
    • You will share in exclusive mystery knowledge
    • You will attain true enlightenment
  • Lie # 6 – “you will be like God”
    • God is your equal
    • There is something wonderful and exciting awaiting you which you have not experienced before
  • Lie # 7 – “knowing good and evil”
    • God is both good and evil
    • You can decide for yourself what is good and evil
    • Good and evil are two sides of the same coin
    • There are no absolutes
eve s response
Eve’s response:
  • “when the woman sawthat the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Gen. 3:6
  • Satan’s lies to Eve appeal to Eve’s flesh – food, eye (“For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has or does –comes not from the Father but from the world”

1 John 2:15)

  • Deception  Disobedience  spiritual death
the enemy s strategy
The Enemy’s Strategy


  • Doubt His Word, power, grace, mercy, forgiveness, love


  • Hardship, difficulties, trials
  • Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual


  • Distorted gospel (other sources of “spirituality”)
  • False prophets (Mt. 7:15; 24:11; 24:24)


  • Trust in our own resources, rather than God
symptoms suggesting spiritual involvement
Symptoms suggesting spiritual involvement
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Screaming
  • Frightening nightmares
  • Persistent fear
  • Internal voices
  • Oppressive depression
  • Pain that cannot be explained medically
Symptoms …
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme anger and rage
  • Pornographic enslavement
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • Speaking with another voice
  • Sexual perversions
  • growling
how to know if there is spiritual involvement
How to know if there is spiritual involvement
  • Experience unusual discomfort, watering eyes, emotional confusion and/or distraction when reading Scripture or spiritual warfare prayers
  • Spiritual discernment
  • Analysis of opportunities where spiritual involvement could have been given access – e.g. involvement in the occult, drugs, habitual sexual sin, inviting of spirits into one’s life, curses, hexes, spells, involvement with witchcraft or satanic ritual, worship or blood sacrifices
  • Possible that access are passed down through ancestral lines
how do spirits of darkness influence us
How do spirits of darkness influence us?
  • See our imperfections and weaknesses
  • Piggyback (latch) on our woundedness and augment the problem
  • Secondary problem as they pile on and attack our minds (with deception) and add to our feelings and accentuate our emotions
  • End result being separate from God’s truth and spiritually blinded
can a christian be demon possessed
Can a Christian be demon-possessed?
  • Are those symptoms of the typical struggle believers have with the flesh? Or is it possible the influence of actual spirit beings?
  • Advances in medicine and behavioural sciences help see variety of alternative explanations
  • Numerous accounts of demonization and exorcism in every century of the history of the church
  • Strong assumption demon possession was a phenomenon associated with the lands where idolatry flourished
demon possession
Demon possession…
  • Debate and controversy among evangelicals
  • Arguments against demon possession:
    • A Christian cannot be demon-possessed because his or her body is a temple of the Holy Spirit
    • A Christian cannot be demon-possessed because he or she is already owned by God
  • “possession” = ownership ?
  • “demon possession” – English translation
  • “daimonizomai” – Greek word (tormented, vexed, troubled); words for ownership or possession are absent in the original text
reframe the question
Reframe the question…
  • “Can Christians come under a high degree of influence by a demonic spirit?”
  • “Is it possible for Christians to yield control of their bodies to a demonic spirit in the same way that they yield to the power of sin?”
chrisitians cannot be owned by satan
Chrisitians CANNOT be owned by Satan
  • The issue of ownership is settled once and for all when a person turns to Christ; Satan loses any legal claim to ownership on the basis of the blood of Christ shed on the cross
  • Legally acquitted by God from our guilt due to sin (Rom. 5:1)
  • Transferred from the domain of Satan into the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13)
  • Sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13)
  • Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39)
temple of god but a dwelling for demons
Temple of God, but a dwelling for demons?
  • Misconception that a demon cannot occupy the same space as the Spirit of God
  • Sin can “reign” in your mortal body (Rom.6:12)
  • After conversion, “flesh” continues to be present with the believer; the locus of much of the struggle for the believer; resident in the same body as the Holy Spirit
  • Demons will take as much room as we will give to them
the new self1
The New Self
  • Core transformation (new identity as child of God, citizen of heaven, a saint) has occurred, the continued impact of the presence of sin still felt
  • Still retains a structure of the present evil age (flesh)
  • Sinner nature still present (Rom. 7:18; 8:8)
  • Inner conflict between God’s law and law of sin (Rom. 7:21-24)
  • Demonic spirits cannot penetrate to the core of the person’s being and snatch away what belongs to God
  • A believer can choose to embrace sensual desires and succumb to the flesh, or to resist evil impulse
christians can be inhabited and controlled by demons
Christians can be inhabited and controlled by demons
  • Giving turf to the devil
    • “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” (Eph. 4:26-27)
    • Foothold – inhabited space
  • Allowing evil to reign
    • “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Rom. 6:12)
    • Sin attempts to reassert its control
    • Evil asserts its influence in 3 different but related ways – flesh, world, and Satan
deliverance ministry
Deliverance Ministry
  • Deliverance is part of a bigger COUNSELING process. Counseling is part of a much bigger HEALING process of moving towards wholeness.
  • Deliverance should not be practiced as an isolated event. Wherever possible, deliverance should be set in the context of the larger HEALING process.
  • COUNSELING should take place in partnership with a faith community.
  • 45% pre-deliverance counseling
  • 10% deliverance
  • 45% post-deliverance counseling
  • Deliverance Team – individual, discerner(s), contronter, support person (spouse, minister, friend)
  • Have you ever questioned God’s Word and asked if He actually said “this”? Have you rationalized your belief or have you looked into Scripture to finds answers?
  • How easy or hard it is to detect Satan’s lies?
  • Have you bought into Satan’s lies? How can you discern God’s truth has been distorted?
  • What kind of doubts do you have about God’s character or truths? What makes believing His Word difficult?
  • Re-trace your story of succumbing to temptation…does it follow a similar pattern?
  • Have you experienced similar kind of “demonic” influence? How did you handle it?
  • How have you given the devil a foothold?
resisting the dominion of darkness
Resisting the dominion of darkness

Endure Hardship

  • “Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer.” (2 Tim. 2:3-4)
  • Taking up the cross daily  costly, sacrifice, persecution, ridicule
  • Hymn “Onward Christian Soldier”

Fight the good fight

  • “Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Tim. 1:18-19;

1 Tim. 6:12)

  • Struggle continually to uphold the truth of Scripture
  • Concentration, effort, and discipline needed to win
  • Keep the faith (uphold sound doctrine) and a good conscience (live holy lives)
  • “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3)
  • J.C. Ryle’s quote from Holiness, 1989, p.62

Resist the devil

  • “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9)
  • Spiritual resistance  spiritual bodybuilding
  • “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful…produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:11)
  • Resist  to stand against, begins with self-control
  • Resist the devil, not people
put on the full armor of god
Put on the full Armor of God
  • Repeated twice (Eph. 6:11, 13)
  • “take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:11b)
  • “stand your ground” (Eph. 6:13)
  • “stand firm…” (Eph. 6:14a)
  • List of combat equipment (Eph. 6:14-17)
    • Belt of truth
    • Breastplate of righteousness
    • Shoes of the gospel of peace
    • Shield of faith
    • Helmet of salvation
    • Sword of the Spirit
belt of truth
Belt of Truth
  • Tunic – large square piece of material hung low and loose
  • Girding one’s loins – pull the four corners of his tunic up through the belt; cinch up the loosely hanging material
  • Reference to preparation, readiness, and commitment
  • Refers to attitude of truthfulness, sincerity, honesty, and integrity
  • Condition of your private life; having a pure heart
  • Commitment to fight and win without hypocrisy
breastplate of righteousness
Breastplate of Righteousness
  • Tough, sleeveless piece of leather or heavy material
  • Covers the soldier’s full torso, protecting the heart and other vital organs  protect your mind and emotions
  • Righteousness  imputed righteousness assures us of ultimate victory over Satan – God’s clothing a person in the righteousness of Christ at the moment of salvation (2 Cor. 5:21 – “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”)
  • Produces practical righteousness through holy living
gospel of peace
Gospel of Peace
  • Proper footwear equipped for battle
  • Feet suggests idea of spiritual authority
  • Feet are to be shod “with the preparation for the Gospel of peace”; won’t slip or fall
  • God took the initiative to make peace (2 Cor. 5:19)
  • Good news that believers are at peace with God (Rom. 5:1); He is on our side
  • Confidence of divine support to stand firm
  • Commissioned with the ministry of reconciliation (Matt. 5:9)
shield of faith
Shield of Faith
  • Rectangular shield 4 ½ ft x 2 ½ ft
  • Thick plank of wood covered on outside with metal or leather
  • Deflect flaming arrows
  • Reference to endurance faith – steadfastness and endurance
  • Faith is trusting completely and unconditionally in God and His word
  • James 1:3 – “the testing of your faith develops perseverance”
  • Ability to remain under fire of long, drawn out trial without breaking down or blowing up
helmet of salvation
Helmet of Salvation
  • Protects the head, a major target in battle (fatal blow)
  • Satan seeks to destroy believer’s assurance of salvation with weapons of doubt and discouragement
  • Salvation is eternally protected and secured through the finished work of Christ on the cross
  • Security (fact); assurance (feeling comes to obedient Christian)
  • By appropriating this salvation as their helmet, believers have every reason to be confident of the outcome of the battle
sword of the spirit
Sword of the Spirit
  • The Word of God (Ps. 19:7-11)
  • Infallible  has no mistakes in its entirety; faultless, flawless, without blemish
  • Inerrant  no errors, fallacies, blunders or delusions (Prov. 30:5)
  • Complete  nothing needs to be added or taken away from it
  • Authoritative – God is final authority; to listen and obey
  • Sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  • Effective
power of the spirit
Power of the Spirit
  • Sword is spiritual because it was given to us by the Holy Spirit
  • God’s word has divine origin, nothing can overpower it
  • Acts 1:8 – “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit come on you…”
  • Truth of Scripture used defensively (to fend off Satan’s attacks) and offensively (to help destroy enemy’s strategies)
weapon of prayer
Weapon of Prayer
  • Eph. 6:18 – “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…”
  • Has militant purpose  to overcome the dominion of darkness
  • Spiritual blindness  prayerlessness
  • Growing awareness of spiritual warfare  increasing commitment to pray
  • Common elements – listening to, talking with God; asking (Jam.4:2); believing (Mk. 11:24)
  • Jam. 5:16 – “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective”
the necessity of prayer
The Necessity of Prayer
  • Prayer is not a 7th piece of spiritual armor
  • Prayer is woven into the armor; foundational for the deployment of all the other weapons
  • As we put on the full armor, we are to be engaged in prayer
  • The atmosphere in which all our fighting occurs
  • The key to appropriating our resources in Christ
  • Spiritual armor is neither mechanical or magical; must be infused with divine power and energy
the commands for victory
The Commands for Victory
  • Be alert (Eph. 6:18)
    • For temptation
    • For false teachers
    • For Christ’s return
  • Be firm (1 Cor. 16:13)
    • Being rooted or grounded in God’s Word
  • Be mature (Eph. 4:14-15)
  • Be strong (1 Cor. 16:13)
  • Be loving (1 Cor. 16:14)
grand finale
Grand Finale

Satan shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire

(Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10)

But until then….

We are always in spiritual warfare.

  • Are you aware you are always in spiritual battle ?
  • Are you fit for spiritual battle ?
  • Are you ready for spiritual battle ?
  • What part (s) of the full armor do you need to develop or sharpen ?
  • What are the challenges you’re facing ?
  • What are the resources to help you win the battle ?
  • What is your appetite for God`s Word ?
  • What is the condition of your prayer life ?
make your home a spiritual refuge
Make your home a spiritual refuge
  • Acts of cleansing
  • Acts of consecration
  • Acts of protection
prayer for the home
Prayer for the Home

Almighty and Sovereign God, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, I/we come to you in the power of the Holy Spirit. We ask you to search out and bring to light any unconfessed in or act of wickedness committed in this place and drive away any lingering spirits of the kingdom of darkness. In Jesus’ name I bind any spirits who would seek to exert any influence in this dwelling. We acknowledge Father that this is your property. Cleanse and sanctify this place through the blood of the cross and fill it with your presence and glory.

Use this home for your purposes. Set angels at the boundaries of this property to shield and protect the members of my family (give names) from all evil influences. I proclaim that the scepter of the wicked will not remain over this home. I pray this through the name that is above every name, that of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

From Tom White, Believers Guide to Spiritual Warfare