Know Your Enemy
By Matthew Black, Pastor
Text: Ephesians 6:10-13
Date: Sunday, July 26, 2009, 11am
Tabernacle Baptist Church
7020 Barrington Road
Hanover Park, Illinois 60133
Introduction: Open your Bible to the book of Ephesians 6:10-13. As Christians, we often think our struggle is against flesh and blood. As a result we have temporary solutions for our problems. There’s a pill, a program, a plan for everything. But the church of God does not cure her ills with physical remedies. The church is a Spirit-filled living organism. We fight not against flesh and blood but against demonic powers. We need to know who we are fighting against. The title of our message this morning is “Know Your Enemy”.
Let’s stand and read Ephesians 6:10-13, “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.”.
[Prayer for Guidance]
We are called on by Paul to make war. We are not to resist and fight against flesh and blood, but demonic forces. We need to be strong. We need strength that is beyond human. It is going to take strength that you do not have. So, “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (verse 10).
2 Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Satan’s aim is to rip Christians off their feet unexpectedly. He wants them to be down and grovel. There is an enemy always attacking you. He never stops. You must not rest for a moment. You must be aware that you are always at war. That mentality makes you more awake and aware of constant attack. As Ed Welch said:
“There is something about war that sharpens the senses. You hear a twig snap or the rustling of leaves and you are in attack mode. Someone coughs and you are ready to pull the trigger. Even after days of little or no sleep, war keeps us vigilant”.
I. You need to be strong in the Lord’s strength because it’s the only way to defeat the enemy’s Strategy. Verse 11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We need to be able to resist Satan’s deceptive advice. We should be careful to follow only the Word of God. Satan’s strategy is always to use deception.
A. He is the “father of lies” (John 8:44). The reason Satan has turned to deception is that he cannot “out power” God. Satan tried to overcome God in heaven, and that gamble failed. Satan’s power will never be a match for God’s.
B. He transforms himself into “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He looks like one of the ‘good guys’.
Illustration: Satan is like the spiritual Mafia. Do you know where the mafia headquarters is? Do you know what street? Of course not! Do you know who they are as you walk past them on the street? No. Why? Because they are undercover. They don’t want to be found out. They look like everyone else. They have what looks like legitimate businesses, but they are just fronts! So it is with Satan. He has a deceptive front. He transforms himself into an angel of light. Deception is his trade.
Satan heads a spiritual Mafia that controls people and even nations. People wonder how a nation can produce a Stalin or a Hitler. The explanation is the massive work and deception of Satan. That’s how powerful he is.
C. Satan is so experienced at deception that Revelation 20:8 says one day he will deceive all the nations of the entire world!
II. You need to be strong in the Lord’s strength because it’s the only way to fight within the enemy’s Sphere.
Paul tells us in verse 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”. Christians need to be prepared for spiritual warfare. There are adversaries that are human, but behind them is supernatural evil.
Our enemy is an unseen sphere. It is not that people are our problem. We ought not see the cause of our warfare as people. Our great concern is not with the hurt or harm people can do to us. We must see beyond them to the cause.
Our concern is not with people or politics, or political parties, or the physical wars raging across the world. As followers of Jesus Christ, our primary concern is not the corruption of government officials. Our primary concern as Christians is that there is something behind all that we see with our eyes.
A. There is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).
B. He is raging and roaring as Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8, “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. We see him exercising his schemes, his wiles for the destruction of all people. Paul says it is demonic powers and the devil himself that we ought to see as the cause of trouble and temptation in this world.
C. John 5:19b, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (ESV).
D. “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
E. Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Let us understand that Satan is not the opposite of God, but of Michael. Michael is a great archangel. It is probable that this was Lucifer’s rank.
You cannot stay standing against the devil without the strength of the Lord. You must take every precaution. You must put on the “whole armour of God” (verse 11). Without it you cannot stand against the wiles of the devil.
III. The enemy’s Spoil. We are surrounded by our spiritual enemy, but the battle is not for land or anything physical.
A. The Battle is for God’s glory. The issue is, Who is going to get the glory in this universe? Who is going to be worshiped? Satan fell from heaven because he said, “I will be like the most High”. God’s response is, “My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:11).
B. The Battle is for souls. Strong man has his goods. Understand that when man fell into sin, he became the slave of Satan. Mark 3:27 gives a story about Christ conquering the devil and says that Christ would enter into the strong man’s house (in other words, the devil’s world) and take the spoil of his goods (which in this parable are the people of the world). Of course Christ says before he can enter the strong man’s house, he has to first bind the “strong man”. Christ does that at the cross!
IV. The enemy’s Strength. Verse 12, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood”.
A. Satan is stronger than any one of us.
1. Satan’s power is beyond human. Satan is an angel, a spirit being. Satan does not have the limitations of flesh and blood. You and I cannot compete with the devil in our own strength. We can’t outsmart the master deceiver. This is why we must “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (verse 10).
2. Satan also has great power because of his vast experience. He has untold years of experience at being the devil. He is called in Revelation 12:9, “the great dragon… that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world”. You are not the first human being he has come up against. He deceived the first man and woman in the garden, and he’s since deceived every human being that has ever walked the planet except one, Jesus Christ. Satan has been against much smarter and stronger people than you and me, and he has won.
B. Satan is not stronger than God. He is a limited, created, finite being. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
1. Hebrews 2:14 says that Christ came to “destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”
2. Colossians 2:15 says that Christ by His cross “spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it”.
3. We read in 1 John 3:8, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
C. Satan has no power over the believer whatsoever, unless the believer yields to Satan. He was defeated at the cross, and he has no power whatsoever over you as a believer. James 4:7 tells us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”.
V. The enemy’s Structure. Verse 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”.
A. Look at the enemy’s Position: “against principalities”—speaks of those who have been given dominion over the earth. Man once had that authority, but he yielded it to Satan in the fall. Remember that Adam and Eve had dominion over the earth, but the moment they bought into Satan’s lie, they became his slaves. “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do”. Of course, Christ, through the Cross, spoiled the dominion of devils. Now the Gospel sets the captives free!
B. Look at the enemy’s Power: “against powers”—literally, “authorities” or “decision makers”. Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). This speaks of Satan’s kingdom being this world. The devil and his angels set the trends and fashions in this world system. People, because of sin, have given themselves to this ruthless evil spirit. Satan has the authority in this world to set what is popular and not. This word “denotes the power which decides”.
C. Look at the enemy’s Planning: “against the rulers of the darkness of this world”. Literally, these are the “administrators of darkness”. They plan what is going to distract man’s attention from God. 2 Corinthians 4:4, ‘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”. It is the wicked one and his demons that administrate the fads, fashions, and distractions of this world. They are the planners of the vanity fair.
D. Look at the enemy’s Passion: “against spiritual wickedness in high places”. These are wicked spirits whose main desire is to transgress God’s ways and to bring disorder to God’s people. Christians can say “for me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21), but these demons can say “for me to live is to oppose Christ.” Their hearts are filled with pure wickedness.
VI. Finally, look at the enemy’s Struggle. Verse 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.” Satan’s goal is to oppose you, to stand against you in everything. You need to be ready for the enemy “in the evil day”. This phrase has the idea of the time “when things are at their worst” (NEB). It’s the time when all satanic forces break loose and come against you. Satan has only hatred for you. His hope is to bring you down in the “evil day”. He wants to defeat you. He does not want you to overcome.
Conclusion: Satan is a defeated foe! He has no power over the child of God. Because of the Cross our accuser in cast down. As Revelation 12:10 says, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
Satan is doomed. He may harass you; he may accuse you; he may try to over power you. But you must understand, if you know Christ he can never defeat you. In fact, he is an enemy that is already defeated!
 Revelation 20:8-9, “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (2:566). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.