CHALLENGING SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS
- There are forces of darkness described as spiritual wickedness that are warring against a believer to make him to live below divine expectation.
- They have to be challenged, confronted and constrained through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The difference between deliverance and spiritual warfare is that deliverance is dealing with demonic bondages, and getting a person set free.
- Whereas spiritual warfare is resisting, overcoming and defeating the enemy's lies (in the form of deception, temptations and accusations) that he sends our way.
- Deliverance involves the breaking up of legal grounds, the tearing down of strongholds (offensive spiritual warfare), and the casting out of demons.
- Spiritual warfare on the other hand, is dealing with three key things the enemy sends at us: temptations, deception and accusations.
- Spiritual warfare comes in two ways: offensive and defensive. Offensive warfare is tearing down the strongholds the enemy has formed in your mind through deception and accusations, and
- defensive warfare is guarding yourself against the tactics or schemes of the devil.
- We shall look at the study under three headings:
1. The Wiles of Satan
2. The Weapon of Saint
3. The Word for Sinners
1. The Wiles of Satan: Eph 6: 10 - 12
- There are three things that we can expect from the devil. 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."
- The three primary things we struggle against include:
- To deceive somebody means to make another person believe a lie or something that is not true.
- When the enemy sends deception your way, it is an attempt to deceive you into believing something that is not true, so you will fall into error.
- From the very beginning, Satan deceived Eve into believing that God's Word was not true. In Genesis 3:4, the devil told her that she will not surely die as God said she would in Genesis 2:17.
- Temptation often follows deception. First the enemy tells us, "You won't surely die!", then he makes the fruit on the forbidden tree look good to us.
- Since Eve accepted Satan's deception (his lie), now the tree that she was not supposed to touch looked good to her. She was tempted (enticed) to sin, because she allowed herself to first be deceived.
- Temptation is when we are enticed or encouraged to sin in one way or another.
- Jesus was led out in the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus saw through Satan's deception, and resisted the temptation by speaking God's Word.
- When the enemy tempts you, he's showing you the worm... but behind that worm is a hook. The Word of God helps you see the hook behind the worm.
- The devil is known as the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). He is known to take a believer who has done an embarrassing or gross sin in their past, and continue to rub it in their faces and beat them down with guilt and condemnation over their past.
2. The Weapons of Saints:
1. Challenging Deception:
- We have two weapons to deal with deceptions: the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14) and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) which is the Word of God.
- Both are truth, which is found in God's Word, so why are they given two different names (a sword and a belt)?
- Because one is meant to be defensive (the belt), while the other is meant to be offensive (the sword).
- This means that the Word of God is both an offensive and a defensive weapon.
- A belt is something you wear to guard against an attack, while a sword is used to slaughter the enemy.
- You use the belt of truth (God's Word) to guard against the enemy's deception (lies) he sends your way, while you use the sword of the Spirit (also God's Word) to tear down existing strongholds (deception that took hold) in your mind.
- In Romans 12:2, we are told to "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." How do we renew our minds? By getting in God's Word!
2. Challenging temptation
- In James 4:7, we are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. But it's not that simple; in the same verse, we are also told to draw near to God.
- Dealing with temptation is a two fold process of submitting to God and resisting the devil.
- The closer you get to God and the more you become aware of His love, the less power temptation will have over you.
3. Challenging accusations
- The fiery darts of the enemy in Ephesians 6:16 are accusations sent our way. - For example, when the devil tries to accuse us of our past sins, we are to have faith in the work of the cross and know that they are forgiven and not to look back.
- Faith is what we use to put out the fiery darts of the enemy. We are not to meditate about our pasts, because they have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17), and our sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17).
- Ephesians 6:14, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (knowing your sins have been forgiven through your faith in the work on the cross) and,
- Having on the breastplate of righteousness (not our righteousness obviously, but the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus);"
- Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), but because of the work of the cross, we can receive the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus (Romans 3:22, Galatians 3:6).
- Therefore when the enemy tries to remind you of your past, tell him it's been washed away (2 Corinthians 5:17), your sins have been forgotten (Hebrews 10:17) and you have the righteousness of God (Romans 3:22)!
4. Challenging strongholds
- A stronghold is deception that's taken hold in a person's mind. It's an incorrect thinking pattern based on a believed lie.
- People can get incorrect perceptions of God by listening to Satan as he tells them how God doesn't love them, etc.
- People can feel like dirty old sinners when they believe Satan's accusations as he continually reminds them of their past (which has been washed away!).
- Strongholds are based on lies from the devil. They can come in the form of deception or accusations.
- Accusations always lead to guilt and the feeling of unworthiness, which weighs you down and tears you apart spiritually.
- Since strongholds are built upon lies that we have been fed, the way we tear down strongholds is by feeding on the truth (in God's Word), which is the opposite of what the enemy has been feeding us.
- If the enemy has been feeding us a lie, we need to stop eating the lie and start feeding ourselves the truth.
- The weapon we use to tear down strongholds is found in Ephesians 6:17, "...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
- A solid understanding of spiritual authority is vital to build your faith when casting out demons, healing the sick, and exercising your authority over the powers of darkness.
- Authority doesn't beg; authority doesn't ask; authority commands! We are not told to ask God to cast out demons, we are told to do it ourselves!
- We are not told to beg demons to come out, we are told to CAST them out! We are to confront them through the authority we have received.
- Matthew 8:8-9, 13, "The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
- Authority is exercised through our spoken word. The power of life and death are in the spoken word: Proverbs 18:21.
- One thing that made it clear that Jesus was the son of God, is because He exercised authority that nobody else had access to in history:
1. He cast out demons using His authority: Mark 1:27, "And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him."
2. He cast out demons with His spoken word: Matthew 8:16, "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word..."
3. He healed the sick with His spoken word: Luke 7:7, "Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed." Also John 5:8, "Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."
4. Jesus has been given authority over everything: Matthew 28:18, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
- This same authority was given to us as His disciples. Luke 9:1, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases."
- The authority Jesus gives His people is not to be used in their name, but Jesus' name:
Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils..."
Acts 3:6, "...Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."
3. The Word for Sinners:
- When you are saved, you are born again! You are considered a new creation:
2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
- You are adopted or born into the family of God... a royal family!
1 John 3:1, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."
- Your sins are removed from you and canceled from your account... in other words, you are FORGIVEN!
Micah 7:19, "He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."
- Once your sins are forgiven, you are en-clothed with the righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:22, "Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe..."
- You are seated with Christ in authority over all powers of the devil:
Ephesians 2:6, "And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
- This means that you, as a believer in Christ, will be capable of casting out demons and healing sickness and disease (because you now have authority over sickness and disease, as well as all powers of the enemy).Mk 16:15-18