SPIRITUAL WARFARE. Sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground, and that he faces an enemy much stronger than he is—apart from the Lord. ~ Warren Wiersbe ~. • we are soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3–4).
SPIRITUAL WARFARE Sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground, and that he faces an enemy much stronger than he is—apart from the Lord. ~ Warren Wiersbe ~
Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier (stratiw¿thß) of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3–4).
• “fellow soldiers” are comrades in arms (Philippians 2:25; Philemon 2)
But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier (sustratiw¿thn), who is also your messenger and minister to my need (Philippians 2:25);
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier (twˆ◊ sustratiw¿thØ), and to the church in your house (Philemon 1–2):
• the enemy is Satan (1 Peter 5:8–9), fallen angels (Eph 6:12), and the people Satan uses to accomplish his will (2 Tim 2:26)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (1 Peter 5:8–9).
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly place (Ephesians 6:12).
And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:24–26).
• when Satan attacks, we're all in the battle—whether we like it or not
• offensively, our job is to tear down strongholds—fortresses of the enemy in the souls of men with the spiritual weapons God has provided (2 Cor 10:3–6)
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete (2 Corinthians 10:3–6).
• defensively, we are “to stand firm (sthvnai) against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:11)• the verb histemi (iºsthmi) is often a military term meaning “to hold a watchpost” or “to…hold out in a critical position on a battlefield”
• spiritual warfare is applying the great power of positional truth to experience—learning how to put on your armor and use your spiritual weapons effectively to fight against Satan (Eph 6:11, 13, 14)
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10–13).
• we have both offensive ("for the right hand") and defensive ("and the left") weapons (2 Cor 6:7)
giving no cause for offense in anything, in order that the ministry be not discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left (2 Corinthians 6:3–7),
• with our weapons we "fight the good fight” (1 Tim 1:18; 2 Tim 4:7)
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight (1 Timothy 1:18),
I have fought the good fight,I have finished the course,I have kept the faith(2 Timothy 4:7);
• in spiritual warfare churches need a command center to send and receive vital communications• military vehicles are now equipped with computers and satellite positioning devises that relay coordinates to the command center; commanders can overlay these positions on accurate satellite generated maps and coordinate forces on the battlefield to outmaneuver the enemy—all a result of good communications
• get the phone number of your Sunday School teacher, a mature believer, a deacon you trust, or your pastor—and don’t hesitate to call anytime of the day or night if you feel you’re under satanic attack• they will immediately pray with you, meet with you, and give you the doctrine you need to stand firm against the enemy—so you’re not isolated and picked off
DEFENSIVE WEAPONS Ephesians 6:10–17
The Full Armor of God • Belt of Truth (Eph 6:14a) • Breastplate of Righteousness (6:14b) • Sandals of the Gospel of Peace (6:15) • Shield of Faith (6:16) • Helmet of Salvation (6:17a) • Sword of the Spirit (6:17b)
• the full armor of God consists of six pieces of military equipment: a belt a breastplate sandals a shield a helmet a sword
• the full armor of God covers and protects the whole body:belt stomach, groinbreastplate chestsandals feetshield hand, arm, chest, groin, legs, facehelmet head
• this armor is listed in the order a Roman infantryman would put them on• he first put a belt on over his short tunic to keep the breastplate and scabbard in place
Belt of Truth Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH…(Ephesians 6:14a NASB) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… (6:14a NIV)
• soldiers used wide leather belts (cingulum) studded with decorated metal plates to carry their aprons, daggers, and swords• the apron consisted of a number of leather thongs with riveted metal plates and weighted with bronze terminals: it swung between the legs and protected the stomach and private parts
• “belt of truth” is a genitive of apposition in which A (belt) = B (truth)• the “belt of truth” ( 6:14) held “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (6:17)
• truth protects us from one of Satan’s most powerful weapons—deception, lies, and false doctrine (cf. Eve, Gen 3:1–6; 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:14; millennial unbelievers, Rev 20:7–10)
• the belt is defensive truth (you won’t be suckered by lies and false doctrine); the sword of the Spirit is offensive truth (such as James 4:7: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”)
• with the belt of truth you can effectively fight “the father of lies” (John 8:44) because you know what the truth is
• some of the positive gains of revival will be lost to satanic deception, lies, and false doctrine (e.g., heresy, evolution, philosophy, occult, New Age Movement, cults, religion)
Breastplate of Righteousness …having put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14b NASB) …with the breastplate of righteousness in place (6:14b NIV)
• the breastplate (lorica segmenta) consisted of six or seven horizontal overlapping strips attached on the inside by leather strips to allow freedom of movement• the shoulders were covered with sets of curved strips• it also had front and back plates• it could be taken apart or quickly put on as a complete unit and laced up from the front
• parts of three breastplates have been found in a wooden box dating to 98–100 A.D. in a Roman fort at Corbridge—the iron has rusted to its oxide but the leather has survived• fragments of hinges, hooks, and buckles are often found in forts in Roman Britain• a scarf was worn around the neck and knotted at the front to prevent the metal plates from chafing the skin
• the breastplate covered the body’s most vital organs—the heart, lungs, stomach, liver, and bowels• a wound from an enemy’s sword, spear, or arrow in any one of these organs meant almost certain death
• “breastplate of righteousness” is a genitive of apposition in which A (breastplate) = B (righteousness)• righteousness is given a place of vital importance in the believer’s warfare• righteousness is all that Satan is not; he is unrighteous, wicked, evil, and full of darkness (John 8:44; 13:2; 1 John 3:8)
• the breastplate of righteousness is living a righteous life (experiential righteousness) • experiential righteousness is imitating the righteousness of God; that is, conformity to the righteous standards of God in your thoughts, words, and deeds:Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous (1 John 3:7);