Spiritual Warfare



Dr, John Hoole – July 28, 2019




There are a couple of terms that are used to talked about two aspects of a process or system or thought.  Actually, they are usually used as prefixes – they are MACRO and MICRO.   Micro-economics would be something like your checkbook or an ATM machine.  Macro-economics is the global financial markets.


Understandably, most people focus on the micro issues of life – what’s happening to me today.  It is important to understand the macro as well, because it often affects the micro.  Without a solid biblical backdrop (that’s the macro view), today’s personal challenges can be misunderstood and can cause discouragement.


These personal challenges and how to migrate through them is called SPIRITUAL WARFARE.  And there are micro and macro aspects to spiritual warfare.  What we are personally experiencing in life is the micro-.  But God has a much larger picture of all the forces affecting you today.  We will examine these element of life during this series of lessons.


In the Bible, especially the New Testament, we find many “word-pictures” of the Church.  Each of them describe some aspect of the Church.  For instance, the church is called A FLOCK with Christ as the Good Shepherd.  We are called BRANCHES, that are connected to Christ, the Vine.  We are called A BODY, with Christ as the Head, and with each part of the body having different functions.  We are called SALT & LIGHT in the world, each of which makes an impact on the world around it.


In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we see some additional word pictures of the Body of Christ.  We are called A LEGISLATIVE BODY, “seated in heavenly places with Christ.”  (Eph. 1:3)We are also called a FAMILY, having been adopted by God (1:5), with full rights of inheritance (1:11).  We were once “children of disobedience,” (2:2), but have been brought nigh to our new Father, by the blood of Christ (2:13).  Now we are part of God’s “household of faith.”  (2:19)


Paul also describes the Church as A TEMPLE or A BUILDING, with Jesus as the “Chief Cornerstone” (2:20).  He then pictures the Church as A BRIDE, with Christ our Bridegroom. (5:22-31).


Paul’s final word picture of the Church is that of AN ARMY.  And much of Ephesians 6 deals with some of the details of this army.  Beginning in Verse 10, we have a call to arms.  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”


Paul doesn’t call only fellow apostles, or fellow pastors, to arms.  He is calling fellow soldiers.  All brothers and sisters in the body of Christ are members of this army.  No one is exempt from this conflict.  God has no place for spiritual pacifists.


For the next few months, we are going to have a series on Spiritual Warfare.  About seven weeks ago, we remembered D-Day (June 6th ).  Prior to the Allied Forces invasion of Normandy, also known as D-Day, General Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the following message to the troops.


“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You ae about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.  The eyes of the world are upon you.  The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.  In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one.  Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle hardened.  He will fight savagely …  I have full confidence in your devotion to duty and skill in battle.

We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck!  And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”


Of course, with the benefit of hindsight and history, we know General Eisenhower’s confidence in both the operation and his troops was well deserved.  The invasion of Normandy was a strategic success that turned the tide of World War II and foreshadowed the “full Victory” Eisenhower described.


But what if the invasion had not gone well?  What if the Allies had encountered defeat instead of victory?  That was a scenario General Eisenhower considered in great detail.


In fact, on the evening before D-Day, he wrote a brief note accepting responsibility for the operation’s failure should the day be lost.


“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops.  My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available.  The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do.  If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”


You may never have commanded an army or faced off against another person in hand-to-hand combat.  But if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, then you have more in common with General Eisenhower than you may realize.


For example, you know what it is like to be part of a war – an expansive conflict in which the stakes are incredibly high.  And you know what it is like to face an enemy who is “well trained, well equipped and battle hardened,” - One that will “fight savagely” at every turn in an effort to destroy you.  I am talking, of course, about the spiritual battles we all face as Christians.


If you are a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, then you have declared yourself a warrior of His.  Perhaps you did not realize this.  As a Christian, you are a soldier that has enlisted in the greatest and longest battle ever fought.


2 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV


1       You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2       And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

3       Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

4       No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs — he wants to please his commanding officer.


We need to know about the spiritual conflict we are engaged in.  We must learn what it takes to be a good soldier in the army of God.  And we need to know our enemy.


Before continuing in our study, let’s consider some basic pieces of information.  Allow me to ask you a few questions.








Some identify this war as between good and evil, where “good” is referring to the desires of God, and “evil” describes the activities of Satan.


This war actually started when Lucifer, in his pride, tried to usurp the throne of God.  And humans became the focus of this battle in the Garden of Eden.  And because of the sins of Adam and Eve, we have been embroiled in the war ever since.


We call it a war because it has all the characteristics of a real war.  And this war is indeed real.  A war is the confrontation between two forces.  It is a battle between enemies.


The objective of this battle, on our part and God’s, is to negate the impact of the enemy in our lives.  It is to claim the victory that Christ has already won for us.


Billy Graham explained the reality of spiritual warfare in his book Angels:


“We live in a perpetual battlefield …The wars among the nations on earth are mere popgun affairs compared to the fierceness of battle in the spiritual unseen world. This invisible spiritual conflict is waged around us incessantly and unremittingly. Where the Lord works, Satan’s forces hinder; where angel beings carry out divine directives, the devils rage. All this comes about because the powers of darkness press their counterattack to recapture the ground held for the glory of God…” (page 66)


Since the fall of Lucifer, that angel of light and son of the morning, there has been no respite in the bitter Battle of the Ages. Night and day Lucifer, the master craftsman of the devices of darkness, labors to thwart God’s plan of the ages. We can find inscribed on every page of human history the consequences of the evil brought to fruition by the powers of darkness with the devil in charge. Satan never yields an inch, nor does he ever pause in his opposition to the plan of God to redeem the “cosmos” from his control.”  (Page 68)


Some define Spiritual Warfare as the pro-active approach to our faith, where we actively resist the devil and his demons, using the weapons and armament at our disposal.


The army of the Lord of Hosts is committed to fight a war that is global in its proportions.  It is a conflict that affects and includes every portion of this globe on which we live.  In fact, the word global does not do justice to the scope of this conflict.  That is because it embraces not only the earth, but extends beyond the earth into the very heavens.  In fact, the more appropriate adjective to describe this conflict is not global, but universal, because it includes the entire created universe.


The Scripture that most clearly introduces this conflict and describes its nature is a Passage in Ephesians, the first verse of which we read a moment ago.  Let’s read it again, and add two additional verses.


Ephesians 6:10-12 NKJV


10     Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

11     Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.


Paul took it for granted that, as Christians, we are involved in a war for which we need the appropriate armor and weapons.  The next verse explains more fully the nature of this war:


12     For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.


I want to briefly look at these three verses.  We will put more flesh on them in a later lesson, but now just an overview.  The apostle Paul tells his readers the nature of the battle and how they are to fight it.


What we have in these verses are two commands and the reason for the commands.


•  General Command“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Vs. 10).


This command tells us to be continually strengthened by the power of God.  It is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and now dwells in you.  It is not your strength or weakness that is the issue here.  Victory is not obtained by our strength, but by the strength of God.


•  Special Command“Put on the whole armor of God” (Vs. 11).


How do we allow ourselves to be strong in the Lord?  This second command tells us how.  We do it by repeatedly and continually putting on the spiritual protection God has provided.  This is a more specific command.  For each battle, this is the instruction from God.  It is your means to holding onto your position in Christ as you and I are bombarded by Satan and his strategies.  His strategies are designed to destroy you or render you ineffective.


•  Reason for the Commands“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (Vs. 12).


Our struggle – our real battle, our wrestling match to the death, is not against physical or material adversaries.  It is against a hierarchy of demonic forces doing battle in the spiritual realms.  As I said earlier, we will put more flesh on these comments in a later lesson.


At this point, I want to identify five basic truths concerning spiritual warfare.  These are needed to ground us in the reality that there is an invisible enemy out to destroy you.  I am going to identify these truths briefly today, but will expand them in future lessons.  We will look at each of them carefully.


1.  First Basic Truth: There is an invisible world.


The invisible world is just as real as the visible world.  Both Old and New Testaments affirm this fact.


Here is an example from the Old Testament.  2 Kings 6:15-19 tells us about Elisha, surrounded by a hostile army.  His servant is disturbed when he see the enemy surrounding the city.  Elisha tells his servant there is an invisible host protecting them from those that are visible.


Another Old Testament example of the invisible is found in Daniel 10.  An angel reveals to Daniel the battle he had been waging in his attempt to come to Daniel.  The text we have already read earlier in Ephesians 6, is one of many references by Paul to a conflict that is not of the flesh.


2.  Second Basic Truth:  We are involved in an invisible war.


Not only is there an invisible war, but we are involved in it.  This conflict has eternal implications – lives are at stake.  The strategy of the enemy affects us every day, whether we realize it or take note of it, or not.  When was the last time you were going through a struggle and identified it to the devil?  The enemy of Christ, which, if you are a believer, is also our enemy, and that enemy is not ever for you but against you.


2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV


3       For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

4       For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

5       casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,


Our war is not of the flesh, but of the spirit.  It is invisible to us.


2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV


4       The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.


3.  3rd Basic Truth:  Our Foe is Formidable


We should all understand that Satan is out to destroy God’s people, and in doing so, to discredit the cause of Christ.  He is not to be taken lightly.  He was and angel, created with great power and abilities.  He rebelled against God because of pride, but retained his power and abilities.


1 Peter 5:8 NKJV


8       Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.


Yes, Satan is for real.  And he is out to destroy you in being an effective witness to God’s grace.  We will discuss the devil more thoroughly in a future lesson.


4.  4th Basic Truth:  We must respect our foe, but not fear him.


Our responsibility it to become acutely aware of Satan’s methods, but not be preoccupied by them.  We can be educated about his schemes by examining his names in Scripture.  We can also learn about his strategy by observing the verbs used in the Bible that describe his past actions.  Examining both of these areas will expose something of the tactics of the enemy.  The Scriptures are very clear about his agenda and his targets.  But he is limited, and we have no need to fear him if we follow God’s instructions in faith.


2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV


7       For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


5th Basic Truth:  We do not fight for victory, we fight from victory.


As a believer in Christ, we are invincible.  The Bible has given us numerous promises of victory over the power of the enemy.


1 John 4:4 NKJV


4       You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.


1 John 5:4-5 NKJV


4       For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.

5       Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?


Revelation 12:11 NKJV


11     And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.


As I said earlier, in a later lesson, I will expand upon these five basic truths about Spiritual Warfare.  We will put some flesh on the bare bones that we have been given today.


As we continue this series on Spiritual Warfare, I will occasionally give you what I will call “Things to Remember.”  I will not expand upon them in great detail when I do give them to you.  I want to begin that today by giving you five things to remember.


Things to Remember


1.  Satan is a defeated foe.


John 12:31 NKJV


31     Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.


2.  Jesus destroyed the works of the devil.


Colossians 2:14-15 NKJV


14     [Jesus] having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

15     Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.


3.  We are victors in Christ


1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NKJV


55     "O  Death, where is your sting?  O Hades, where is your victory?" 

56     The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

57     But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


4.  We have the power and resources to resist Satan and demonic attacks.


1 John 4:4 NKJV


4       You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.


5.  We must learn how to put on the full armor of God to experience in our daily living the victory we already possess.


Ephesians 6:13 NKJV


13     Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.