Text: Ephesians 6:12
Thesis: To study the forces that work against us and to learn how to defeat them.
(1) In 1991, George Barna reported that 47 % of Evangelical Christians didn’t believe in a real devil, 69 % of Catholics didn’t, and 65 % of mainline Protestants didn’t.
(2) Tonight, we will stress that there is indeed a real devil and he is out to get us, but we, through Christ, may overcome him.
I. The Forces that Work against Us:
a. Most, likely Satan is a fallen angel.
b. His fall is referred to in Isaiah 14:12-19 and Ezekiel 28:11-19.
(1) In the context, I am aware that Isaiah is referring to the King of Babylon and that Ezekiel is referring to the King of Tyre.
(2) However, the symbolism would only be valid is something actually happened that this language symbolizes.
2. Satan first appears in the Bible in Genesis 3 in the form of a serpent (cf. Rev. 12:9; 20:2 – ‘serpent of old’).
3. Names of Satan:
c. The Serpent
e. Ruler, Prince
f. God of this world
g. The Tempter
h. The Dragon
i. The Evil One
B. Fallen angels:
1. 2 Peter 2:4 – “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (NKJV).
2. Jude 6 – “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.”
1. The word ‘demon’ comes from daimo,nion, which means “hostile transcendent being w. status between humans and deities, spirit, power, hostile divinity, evil spirit” (BDAG).
2. Their origin is unknown.
a. Some have suggested that demons are actually fallen angels.
b. Some have suggested that demons are departed spirits of wicked men (2 variations here: 1) Those who died before the flood; and 2) Those who have died at various times).
3. Demons were/are real, not just mental problems, etc.
a. It is unclear as to whether there are any definitive references to demons in the Old Testament.
b. However, it is overwhelmingly clear that there are numerous references to demons in the New Testament.
o Demons possessed bodies, whether humans or animals (e.g., Mark 5:1-20).
o Demons would often attempt to harm the body that it was possessing (e.g., Mark 9:22).
a. Various physical ailments and injuries caused by demons
i.Dumbness (Matt. 9:32-33; 12:22)
ii.Blindness (Matt. 12:22)
iii.Deformity (Luke 13:11-17)
iv.Epilepsy (Matt. 17:15-18)
b. The Bible doesn’t attribute all physical illness to demons, but
clearly distinguishes natural ailments from demonic
ailments (Matt. 4:24; Mark 1:32; Luke 7:21; 9:1).
c. W. Lane believes that “the purpose of demonic possession is to
distort and destroy the image of God in man” (Mark, p. 331).
o Demons recognized who Jesus truly was (e.g., Luke 4:35 – “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy one of God!”).
o Demons knew that they had an appointed time that they would be punished (e.g., Matt. 8:29 – “‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’”).
o More than one demon could possess a person at the same time (e.g., Mark 5:1-20).
§ A demon gave “his” name as “Legion,” because “we are many” [Note: A Roman legion consisted of 6,000 foot soldiers, as well as 120 horsemen and technical personnel].
§ We know that at least 2000 demons were in the man because there was at least one demon per pig.
o It seems as though they have some knowledge of future or of hidden things (Acts 16:16).
o Apparently, they have supernatural strength (e.g., Acts 19:16 – “Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”; cf. Mark 5:3)
o Some people have theorized there is something unique about demons and water because of Matthew 12:43 – “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.”
II. The Nature of the Warfare:
A. We ‘wrestle/struggle’(Gr. pavlh) –
1. BDAG – “engagement in a challenging contest,” origin = wrestle, then fight/battle, hand-to-hand combat
2. Louw-Nida – “to engage in intense struggle, involving physical or nonphysical force against strong opposition”
B. Their tactics:
1. One author observed: “Satan is big, he’s bad, and he’s mad” (J. Beam 67).
2. Satan is said to “prowl around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8, NIV).
3. He uses any means available to bring you down.
a. At times, he transforms himself into “an angel of light” (cf. 2 Cor. 11:14).
b. At times, he uses subtle “scheme” (cf. Eph. 6:11; 2 Cor. 2:11).
- One author observed: “Mention of the ‘schemes’ of the devil
reminds us of the trickery and subterfuge by which evil and
temptation present themselves in our lives. Evil rarely looks evil
until it accomplishes its goal; it gains entrance by appearing
attractive, desirable, and perfectly legitimate. It is a baited and
camouflaged trap” (K. Snodgrass 339).
c. Also, he blinds people’s minds so that they cannot see the light (2 Cor. 4:4).
d. Clinton Arnold wrote: “Through blinding, holding captive, enslaving and keeping people in the sphere of death, the work of Satan and his powers run counter at every point to the loving, reconciling, and life-giving purpose of God in Christ” (Powers of Darkness 93).
e. Indeed, he is the one who controls this evil world (1 John 5:19).
(1) He is the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4).
(2) He is the ruler of the kingdom of air (Eph. 2:2).
f. He is powerful and is an expert at what he is doing. He has brought men and women down ever since the beginning. He knows your number and can bring you down as well.
C. Our defense:
1. First, come to Jesus, who alone can rescue us from the dominion of darkness (Col. 1:13).
2. Second, equip yourself with God’s armor to face the devil (Eph. 6:10ff.).
a. Look to Jesus’ battle against Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1ff.).
(1) Note His faith in God.
(2) Also, note that Jesus was armed with Scripture.
b. With this armor on, we are able to resist the devil (James 4:7).
c. However, we must be careful that we don’t give the devil a foothold (Eph. 4:27).
3. Third, know the outcome of the battle: God and His army win!
a. Know that the one who is in you is great than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
b. Also, know that the powers of darkness will ultimately be defeated.
(1) Their downfall stated at the cross (Col. 2:15).
(2) They will eventually be tossed into eternal fire (Matt. 25:41).
(1) We are involved in a war!
(2) On which side are you?