Get ready to start a new series on spiritual warfare! Today you will be learning the five basic foundations of spiritual battle: (1) Knowing the History of Spiritual Warfare, (2) Knowing the Lord’s Army, (3) Knowing the Enemy, (4) Knowing the Battle, & (5) Knowing Jesus’ Victory!
Ephesians 6:10-12, “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
(1) KNOWING THE HISTORY OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Let us start with a brief history of all creation (both in the heavens and in the universe) to learn how all created beings have their part in the battle of the ages- including you. Before God created mankind we are told in the Bible that God existed with the angels. At some point Lucifer (aka, “Satan”), a high ranking angel most likely in charge of worship, allowed pride to enter his heart and was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-17). At this time he deceived a 1/3 of heaven’s innumerable angels to follow him (Revelation 12:4).
The next time we see Satan is in the Garden of Eden. He is there possessing a serpent to lie and tempt Eve to disobey God (Genesis 3:1-19). Unfortunately, his plan worked and both Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. At this point, the rulership of creation, which was given to Adam and Eve by God was lost to Satan because mankind had disobeyed God (Genesis 1:28 & Luke 4:7). Satan, along with his fallen angels (aka, “demons”) then began to tempt all the sons and daughter of Adam to bring forth evil upon the earth.
Eventually, Jesus came in the form of a man to be the “second Adam” so that He might rightfully defeat Satan and restore the authority of God’s creation back to mankind for the glory of God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:45). Remember, the Triune God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) never stopped being ultimately in charge of humanity and creation, however, according to the Father’s justice Satan rightfully had taken the authority away from mankind.
That is why when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness he said he was able to give all of earth’s kingdoms to Jesus if He would worship him (Matthew 4:8-9). Jesus, God the Son in the flesh, refused to commit treason against God the Father as Adam and Eve did, thus, He willing paid the highest price for mankind’s sin upon the cross and became the eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Philippians 2:5-11). Though mankind falling into sin was not God’s desire, He did allow it to happen to maintain mankind’s free will, but He always had a plan for Jesus to come and save us (Revelation 13:8).
Therefore, after Jesus (the eternal Word, John 1:1) was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life and was crucified, He broke the curse of sin off mankind by satisfying God the Father’s righteous law (Colossians 1:19-23) and defeated Satan (Colossians 2:13-15). The resurrection and ascension of Jesus proved to the world that Jesus had in fact become the ruler of the universe by being the “lamb slain” for the sins of mankind (John 2:19).
Sadly, today everyone is still born into sin and is by nature under the curse of Satan because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, however, because of Jesus’ sacrifice everyone who has faith in Him (Romans 5:1), repents of their sins (Acts 2:38), and proclaims Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9) can be born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3)!
Everyone who is born again becomes a son or daughter of God the Father and now shares in the inheritance of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is a deposit within them and a guarantee of God’s promises to come (Romans 8:17). After salvation, the Devil (like a roaring lion, 1 Peter 5:8), may still try to tempt and defeat the disciple while they dwell upon the earth (2 Corinthians 2:11) but our victory is secure in Jesus (Romans 8:28-39). At the same time, we must stand until the time comes when Satan is once-and-for-all defeated and cast into the lake of fire when Jesus returns (Romans 16:20).
In conclusion, those who are not saved are already condemned by their sin (John 3:18), being ruled by Satan’s false spiritual agenda (Ephesians 2:1-3), and are sentenced to perish under God’s just wrath (Romans 1:18-19). Therefore, the sinner’s only hope for victory is to trust Jesus for their rebirth or be punished with the traitor of heaven and be found guilty of high treason against their Creator, being sentenced to suffer the same fate as Satan (Revelation 20:15). Those who have been born again must remain faithful to the end (Revelation 2:10), fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), and finish their race (2 Timothy 4:7).
Now, are you ready to wage war against Satan and your flesh?
(2) KNOWING THE LORD’S ARMY
- JESUS: The conquering high King of heaven and earth (1 John 3:8 & Revelation 19:16) in which total victory belongs to Him because of the cross (Colossians 2:15)!
- SERAPHIM: Heavenly creatures with six wings and one face that fly around the throne of God. We know of four- one has the face of a lion, another a ox, the third has a face like a man, and the fourth like an eagle. They have two wings that cover their face, two that cover their feet, and two they fly with. Also, their wings are covered with eyes (Isaiah 6:2 & Revelation 4:7-8).
- CHERUBIM: Heavenly creatures that have wings and sometimes multiple faces (Genesis 3:24 & Ezekiel 1:8-11, 10:20-23)
- ARCHANGEL: Angelic messengers that fight on the Lord’s behalf (Michael, Daniel 10:13 & Revelation 12:7) and bring people messages (Gabriel, Daniel 8:16 & Luke 1:19,26).
(3) KNOWING THE ENEMY
- SATAN: The leader of the fallen angels who deceived a third of the angels (Revelation 12:4), Adam & Eve (Genesis 2:1-6), and tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). He now appears as an angel of light to tempt mankind (2 Corinthians 11:14).
- RULERS: Possible demonic leaders, like the “Prince of Persia” in Daniel 10:13 that fought against Michael the archangel.
- AUTHORITIES: Those under the rulers or in the same category as rulers, “rulers/authorities.”
- POWERS: Possbily another ranking that possess people to do their will, while not making them unable to function. For example in Ephesians 2:1-2 the “ruler (Satan) of the air” is at work in the “disobedient.”
- FORCES: Demons (foot soldiers), like those who possess (Mark 5:9) and afflict people (Luke 13:10-13) or maybe a summary of all Satan’s army.
(4) KNOWING THE BATTLE
- UNBELIEVERS vs. JESUS: James 4:4, “You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again:If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.”
- BELIEVERS vs. THE DEVIL: Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
- REMEMBER: There is no ongoing battle between Jesus and the Devil, it has already been won in heaven from before creation (Luke 10:18) and will be enacted upon the earth once and for all at the end of the age (Revelation 20:2,10)! 1 Peter 3:21b-22, “Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand— with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” Not like this, but like this!
(5) KNOWING JESUS’ VICTORY
- JESUS DEFEATED THE DEVIL: Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
- JESUS DEFEATED THE POWER, PRESENCE, AND PENALTY OF SIN: 1 John 3:8, “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”
- JESUS DEFEATED SORROW: Isaiah 51:11, “Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
- JESUS DEFEATED SICKNESS: 1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Though we must rage war in heavenly realms against the powers of darkness, we do so seated in heavenly places trusting in the power of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!