Friday, April 27, 2012

Winning The Invisible War - Ephesians 6:10-24

By Pastor Michael Frisbee

This article is an adaptation of a sermon I did several months ago, and it was based on a sermon that Pastor Jerry Vines presented some 20 years ago, back when the leaders of our churches were occasionally still preaching about spiritual warfare. We need a restoration of this area of preaching and instruction from the pulpit.

Whether you know it or not, if you are a born again Christian, you are in a spiritual war. More than likely, you have been kept in the dark about this war, since many churches have fallen away from teaching and preaching this gospel truth. However, if you spend any time reading the New Testament, studying Christ’s teachings and ministry, as well as the teachings and ministry of the Apostle Paul, you can’t but help know and understand that the war is real.

The moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, give Him and the Holy Spirit the throne in our spirit and heart, we paint a target on our back that Satan and his demonic minions seek out, with possible fatal results. Such knowledge is scary, even horrifying is it not? Do not fear, do not fret, for there is an awesome Truth that goes with it, and that is when Christ died on that Cross to pay for our sins, He rose again three days later. When He did that, HE HAD THE ULTIMATE VICTORY OVER SATAN AND ALL WHO FOLLOW HIM!

Jesus Christ has the ULTIMATE authority over all things of Heaven and Earth – God, Our Heavenly Father, gave Him that authority. That includes Satan and His minions. He had that Authority before He went to the Cross, and was evident in the multitude of times He cast out the demonic from people. He even passed this authority to His disciples and apostles, and ultimately to us – the people that made that conscious choice to accept Him as the Son of God, believe He died for our sins, and accepted His gift of Salvation.

However, Christians are still struggling, facing demonic oppression, obsession, falling for their lies whispered in their ears, deceiving Christians through New Age and Occult doctrines. The Scriptures teach that the war has already been won. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ has already won the victory for us. We have to wrap our minds and faith around that and never let it be forgotten. The demonic will try to not take it away, but try to make us forget that fact.

Turn to Romans 8 and I want to read these verses to remind ourselves that the victory has already been won in Jesus Christ. This great concluding passage in Romans 8 and when you look at the 37th verse it says: "Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him (Jesus) that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." We are more than conquerors. We are super conquerors through Him. That means we have the victory in Jesus Christ over the principalities and the powers. In your mind connect that with Ephesians 6 where it tells us very specifically that we are wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.

Take a look at Revelation 12 and read another verse about this matter of the victory already being won and how we claim that victory in the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 10 and 11-"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 (Satan) is cast down which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives unto the death."

Now look up Matthew 12 - they accuse Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. Replying to the accusation that he was a demon possessed individual, Jesus responds in verse 24 and 25 - "every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation." Jesus is saying the accusation is illogical. "If satan casts out satan he is divided against himself. How then shall his kingdom stand?" Verse 29 - look at the little parable Jesus gives. "How can one enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods except he first bind the strong man and then he will spoil his house." If you will just connect this in your mind. The one entering into the house is Jesus.

The strong man's house is the Satan and his kingdom. So, Jesus is saying, “What I'm going to do is I am going to enter the strong man's house. I'm going to invade the kingdom of Satan. I'll bind the strong man, I'll spoil his house.” When did Jesus invade Satan on his own turf and get the victory? Colossians 2:15 - "And having spoiled principalities and powers he made a show of those principalities and powers openly triumphing over them in it." (referring to the cross). When Jesus died on the cross, Jesus Christ entered the strong man's house. Before Jesus went to the cross, Jesus said this is your hour and the power of darkness. The Satan thought he had Jesus. So, when Jesus died on that cross and shed His precious blood, not only did Jesus pay for our sins, but the Bible also says He won the victory over the powers of evil. The victory has already been won. The invasion has already taken place. We are just involved in a few skirmishes along the way nowand it won't be long until we will have V Day and the victory will be totally realized. "They overcame him by the blood of the lamb."

So, when we come to Ephesians 6 -- this passage on spiritual warfare, there are 3 pieces in the puzzle that show us how to win the war. First of all you have to analyze the enemy. We've done that in Ephesians 6:10, 11, and 12. Then you have to utilize the weapon. Vs 13, 14 through 17. Analyze your enemy. Learn everything you can about how Satan operates. Daily utilize that army weaponry.

Every day of our life we ought to by faith put on the whole armor of God. Every day we ought to equip ourselves with everything God has provided for us spiritually to do war with the forces of Satan. We analyze our enemy. We utilize our weaponry, we realize our victory. I think the key is in verse 18 - "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit." You know how we get the victory against the spiritual forces that come up against us day by day. The victory is won in prayer. That's where you get the victory.

Prayer is communication. You can't win a battle without communication. Communication is vital to victory, to success. Same thing is true in war. If you can cut off an army's communication system you will cripple that army. The same thing is true in the realm of the Spirit. If Satan can keep us from praying he'll always get the victory. If Satan can get us involved in a lot of other things and get us to neglect prayer then Satan is going to win. Rev Mark and I are involved in a ministry called Spiritual Warriors Network. Within it is our team of prayer warriors. Some of you have committed yourself to be a prayer warrior. The selection of that particular name for the ministry was not accidental. Understand that prayer is the weapon of victory that enables us to win over the principalities and the powers. I think this is why, having gone through all of those pieces of armor, Paul now comes to the climax of the whole matter and shows us that we realize victory over Satan by the ministry of prayer.

Notice verse 18 - 4 times the word "all" is used. Praying always. With all prayer and supplication in the spirit. Watching thereto with all perseverance. Supplication for all saints. I think there in those four "alls" God gives us the secret of effective warfare praying. The first all reminds us that we need to pray regularly. "Praying always." Our prayer life ought to be a regular matter. Do you have a daily time to pray? The first church I attended was a country church. Wonderful days those were. Some of God's great saints I met in rural churches - the salt of the earth. Many of those people in those days would have a special prayer place. It was out in the country on the farm and some of the men would have a place in the field down behind the house. I've even known men who would have a rock altar and every time they would go there to pray they would put a rock on that altar. Some of them had a big mound of rocks at their rock altar because it was the place where they prayed.

We are in modern times now and not many of you are living on a farm. Maybe there a few who do. It's not maybe as easy to get off somewhere like that. But do you have a place of daily prayer? Is there a place that is just special for you and the Lord to meet in prayer? I have a place of prayer. I begin my day with a cup of coffee and a little breakfast, and then my Bible and my prayer. I read the Bible and when I read the Bible God is talking to me. This is God's Word. God is communicating the game plan. I get the game plan when I read God's Word and God is talking to me. When I finish reading the Bible I push my chair back from the desk and then I get down on my knees. I know you don't have to get on your knees to pray. Lot of different postures of prayer in the Bible, but it just seems to help me to get down on my knees. I get down on my knees and I pray. I talk to the Lord. When I read the Bible God talks to me. When I pray I talk to God. It's the sweetest time of the day. Let me encourage you to have a time to pray and to be regular in your prayers. Not just have a time to pray in the morning, though that's special and important, but you ought to pray all through the day, then you ought to pray at the close of the day. There is no better way in the world to go to sleep than to go to sleep talking to the Lord. Begin your day in prayer. Close your day in prayer.

Throughout the day be in the attitude and in the spirit of prayer. In I Thessalonians 5:17 - "Pray without ceasing." The Greek word that is translated there "without ceasing" is a fascinating word. One of the ways that word was used is to describe an incessant cough. Pray without ceasing. Pray when you get ready to go to work. Beneath your conscious thought there is the subconscious level and in that subconscious level there is the spirit and attitude of prayer. So, that prayer becomes the most natural thing in all of the world. "Pray without ceasing." It means keep the receiver off the hook all the time. Be tuned in on the royal telephone all the time. We need to pray all the time. Need to be in the spirit of prayer all the time.

That's the first lesson we learn about prayer - we are to pray regularly. The early church met in the upper room before the day of Pentecost and the Bible says they prayed for ten days. Then on the day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter stood and preached ten minutes and 3,000 people were saved. We pray ten minutes and go to church for a ten-day meeting and wonder why there is not as many being saved as ought to be saved. We ought to spend more time in prayer. All prayer – pray regularly.

Look at the second all of prayer. "All prayer and supplication in the spirit." That means we must pray correctly. We have to learn how to pray. There are some other great books on prayer. I think we ought to be constant students of prayer, learning how to pray. When you become a Christian you are enrolled in the school of prayer. The disciples had been traveling with the Lord, they had heard Him speak, they had seen Him do miracles. The disciples didn't say, "Lord, teach us to preach." As wonderful as that may be. They didn't even say, "Lord, teach us to do miracles." As marvelous as that might be. They didn't even say, "Lord, teach us to testify." As glorious as that is. They said, "Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples." So you are enrolled in the school of prayer. You never graduate.

It takes a lifetime to learn to pray correctly. He says "all prayer and supplication in the spirit." Here's what real prayer is. Prayer is to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. When I pray to the Father. I pray through the Lord Jesus Christ. I claim the access to the throne of God which Jesus Christ has purchased for me in His own precious blood. I am also to pray in the Holy Spirit. In Jude, that little one-chapter book, right before the last book of the Bible, 20th verse - "but ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit." Praying in the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit. What kind of praying is praying in the Holy Spirit?

Look at Romans 8 and I want to show you what it means to pray in the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 - "Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities." Have you ever come to a time of prayer and you really didn't know how to pray? Have you ever had a problem that was so big you really didn't know what to ask God for? Have you ever come to a time in prayer when you felt so weak, so infirm, that you didn't know how to go about praying? Here's a wonderful promise. The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities. He helps you at that moment. For we don't know what we should pray for as we ought. We don't know what we ought to pray for. How many of you have ever prayed a prayer and you look back now and glad God didn't answer it? Sometimes we don't know how to pray like we ought to pray. We are infirmed. We are ignorant. But the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. You say, "that's speaking in tongues." No, it's the opposite of speaking in tongues. It says it's groanings that can't be uttered. You can't put words to this. Have you ever had that experience when you've come before the Lord and you are infirmed and weak and ignorant and you don't know what to pray for. The Holy Spirit takes over and God's Spirit takes our prayer and by the Holy Spirit our prayers get through to glory. That's the way you are going to have to pray if you are going to get the victory over Satan. "Praying with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." Praying correctly.

Ephesians 6:18 - the third all - "Thereunto with all perseverance." We not only pray regularly - every day. Not only pray correctly - to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. But we also pray persistently. He says "with all perseverance." That means you don't give up. Most of us go to God one or two times and ask God and talk to God and pray to God about something and if it doesn't happen in two or three times we give up and we quit. I have a feeling that a lot of us have been right on the verge of some marvelous breakthroughs in warfare praying and we quit praying just before God was getting ready to give us the victory. Just keep on praying till the light breaks through. Just keep on praying He'll answer you. God keeps His promises; His word is true. Just keep on praying till the light came through.

I used to hear the old timers talk about “praying through”. Have you ever prayed through? Jesus told two beautiful parables in the Gospel of Luke. One was in the eleventh chapter - the parable about the man who had a friend who came one night. He was already in bed and had his children all around him. The friend came and knocked on the door. He didn't want to be disturbed but the guy just kept on knocking on the door. Jesus used that parable as an encouragement for us to pray. You say, "Is Jesus saying that God is like a sleeping man in a bed?" No, that's not the point. The point is God is not like a sleeping man in a bed; our God is a loving father who is anxious to answer our prayers. Keep on praying.

In the 18th chapter of the Gospel of Luke he tells the parable about the wicked judge. The widow woman who came to be justified of her adversary and the judge wouldn't pay any attention to her and every morning when he would go into his office there that woman would be pleading her case. Every day when it's time to get off from work he would slip out the back door because that woman was there. She wasn't going to give up. Finally, he said to his secretary, "find out what that woman wants and I'm going to do it, if I don't she's going to bug me to death." That's my paraphrase. But that's the essence of the parable. In that context, Jesus says "keep on praying." Does that mean then, that God is like a wicked judge? No! God is not like a wicked judge. God is like a loving father who says keep on praying until the answer comes.

Sometimes God wants us to keep on praying because we aren't ready yet for the answer. We are not spiritually mature to handle the answer. Sometimes God delays the answer to prayer so we will be mature enough to be ready for the answer when it comes.

So, we pray regularly - praying always. We pray correctly – all prayer in the Spirit. We pray persistently - all perseverance. Then we pray inclusively - and supplication for all saints. There are some other soldiers in the war. There are some other warriors out there. You are not the only one fighting the battle. You think you are the only one - no - I've got news for you. All God's people are fighting the battle. That's why we ought to be kind to every believer because everybody has a problem. Everybody reading this has a problem they are dealing with. We all have a problem. We all need prayer. You need to pray for me. Satan doesn't like us. I've heard this and read this more than one time. I think it is accurate. On several occasions it has occurred on airplanes and in other forms of experience where people have been sitting in airplanes alongside a person who was a Satanist. In conversation with a Satanist, the Satanist has told the Christian that they have bound themselves together and that Satan worshipers are praying and fasting and asking Satan to attack the men of God in this country - the preachers- I think it's true. Asking that Satan will wreck the homes of preachers in this country and ruin the testimony of the preacher. I really believe that. I believe that the preachers who believe the Bible in this country are under Satanic attack. You ought to pray for your preacher. You ought to pray for the men of God. Pray for your fellow-believers. Pray for all saints - for one another.

This ministry is on the initiative. We've taken the offensive. We are preaching the full Gospel, winning souls to Jesus Christ and every time somebody gets saved another one of Satan's kingdoms goes tumbling to the ground. If we will just keep on praying and keep on witnessing, keep on telling the story about Jesus Christ, we can put Satan to flight. We can win the war against the principalities and the powers.

Isn't it wonderful to be saved? Aren't you glad we have prayer? Aren't you glad God didn't leave us in this battle without lines of communication? Aren't you glad we have a general in heaven that's already won the war? He knows every movement of Satan and all we have to do is just tune into headquarters and he will give us the game plan to win the victory.

Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior?

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