5 Basic Truths of Spiritual Warfare

Part Two


Dr. John Hoole – September 1, 2019



Several weeks ago, I presented to you what I called the “5 Basic Truths of Spiritual Warfare.”


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


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


3.  Third Basic Truth:  Our Foe is Formidable


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


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


When we last met, we addressed the first two on the list of five.  We learned that, as a believer, we operate in an arena in which we are virtually blind to all that is taking place in the spiritual dimension around us.  This is especially true when it involves the unseen spiritual forces of the demonic realm.  However, God is a loving God, and He has not left us in the dark.      We would be seriously limited in our ability to fight against the enemy, except for the word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We dare not try to fight this battle on our own.


Today, it is my intention, Lord willing, to talk about the remaining three.


3.  Third Basic Truth:  Our Foe is Formidable


The first thing I wish to say is that I had a good reason to use the pronoun “our” in this sentence.  Our foe, the devil, is, however, not a formidable foe to our God.  God has no formidable foes.  He is God, therefore, He really has neither adversity nor adversary.  Far from being the least bit threatened by those who “rage against Him,” God finds all hellish and human hostility laughable (Psalm 2:1-4)


We are just getting into football season around here in Seattle.  We hope the Seahawks have a great season,  Let’s assume we are near the end of the season, and the Seahawks have been preparing for the Super Bowl.


All season they have dreamed of being in this game.  But for the last two weeks, they have done a lot more than dream.  The have watched films.  Hour after hour after hour they have sat in front of a screen, clicking the remote to speed the film forward, then pressing it to rewind to watch three or four seconds of a play in slow motion, over and over again.


They have watched the other team’s quarterback pick apart defenses.  But they have reason to hope things will go better for their own defense.  What gives them more hope than the teams that were eliminated by their opponent in past weeks?  They have learned their opponent’s schemes.  They know now that if the quarterback drops back 3 steps, 70% of the time he will throw to a tight end coming from the right.  They know that if the quarterback drops back and rolls out of the pocket to the right, he will almost always attempt a pass to his tight end coming from the left.  If he takes the hike and spins to the right, it will be a lateral to the running back.


There will be no surprises for the Seahawks because they have done their homework.  They have also observed the opponent’s defenses, searching for any weaknesses.  Although their foe is a formidable one, they are confident.  They know themselves and what their capabilities are.  Why have they gone to all this trouble?  Because they want to win, and they want to win badly.  They want to wear the Super Bowl ring and say they are going to Disneyland.


In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul is telling us to take the battle we are in more seriously than the Super Bowl contenders, even more seriously than wartime troops.  There is much at stake in this conflict.  It has eternal consequences.  And not only is the war intense, so is the enemy.  Our foe is formidable, and his goal is to destroy us and discredit the cause of Christ.


In this battle, we are told to have a clear mind.


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.


We are to be watchful – we have to be on top of our game - because our enemy isn’t playing tag.  He is seeking someone to devour.


Christians who take Satan lightly are ignoring biblical instructions.  He is a formidable foe.  We need to have a healthy respect for him.  Jude tells us that the Archangel, Michael, had respect for Satan.


Jude 9 NKJV


9      Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"


We are not more formidable than Satan – but God is.  We need to understand the capabilities of Satan and his demons, and depend upon the strength of our Lord when we are in a battle.  He alone has the strength necessary.


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


This truth follows naturally from the previous which states we have a formidable foe.  This truth takes it further to add that we need not fear this foe.  I want to give you four reasons why we need not fear our adversary.


1.     We have the ability to resist our enemies schemes.


I want to look at a verse I read earlier in this lesson, and now add the following verse.


1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV    


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

9      Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.


The Bible does caution us to be on guard against Satan.  But there is a big differenced between being watchful and being afraid.  The Bible command, “Do not fear” or “Fear not,” is found in the Bible 365 times.  If God tells us to resist Satan (a command), we can rest assured that he will give us the ability to do so.  He never tells us to do something that is impossible.


2.     Jesus is bigger


Matthew 28:18 NKJV


18    And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.


If Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth, how much authority does Satan have?  That’s right – zero.  All Satan can do is lie to you.  He has no power over you, to make you sin,  He has no authority over you to cause you to give up or crumble under life’s pressures.


In a football game, the players often tower over the referees.  Offensive linemen might weight 310 pounds and tower to 6’7” in height.  The players are bigger, stronger and more powerful than the older, smaller and, often, out-of-shape referees.     In a game, the players can use their power to knock you down, but the referees can use their authority to put you out of the game.


Never confuse power with authority.


Satan may be able to knock you down.  He has more power than you or I.  But he has absolutely no authority over you if you are a believer.  Of course, Satan knows that, but he doesn’t want you to know it.  So, Satan tries to intimidate with lies and pressure and to deceive you into believing he has authority over you.


On the cross, Jesus Christ deactivated, dismantled and disarmed Satan’s rule over sin and death.


Colossians 2:13-15 NKJV


13    And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

14    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.


God gave the ultimate authority to His Son.  He has placed all things in subjection to Jesus.


Yes, Satan still has power.  He still dominates the world in which we live and influences people’s lives in countless ways.  His tactics are both real and destructive.  But what he doesn’t have is final authority – Jesus does!!     Jesus is exalted “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Ephesians 1:21).


Jesus has all authority, but He has the right to delegate that authority to who He wishes.


        Luke 10:19 NKJV


19    Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.


You may lose everything in this life, but Satan cannot take your joy.  You may be tempted on a regular basis, but Satan cannot make you sin.  You may experience numerous trials, but Satan cannot snatch your faith, unless you let him.


3.     God’s promises are true


1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV


13    No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.


Jesus knows what it is like to be in a spiritual battle.  He struggled against Satan in the wilderness and leaned on God’s word for the victory.  According to the verse we just read, God never puts us in a situation where we are powerless to overcome.  As believers, we are designed to win against Satan.


Consider these promises of God that you can take to the bank.


1.   He will never leave us or forsake us – Hebrews 13:5.


2.  We have the ability to endure trials and temptations – James 1:12.


3.  He will meet all our needs – Philippians 4:19


4.  We have “love, power and a sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7.


5.  He has given us what we need for life and godliness – 2 Peter 1:3.


                His promises are true.


4.     Faith trumps fear


James 4:7-10 NKJV


7      Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

8      Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

9      Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

10    Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.


God says to resist the devil and he will flee from us.  But what about the times when you try to resist him over and over, and he keeps coming back?  This passage makes it clear that we must first submit ourselves and humble ourselves before God.  Never think you can make it on your own power.  In other words, have faith in God – not yourself.  That’s great, but how do we switch from a fear mindset to a faith mindset?  Hopefully, we will address that during this series on Spiritual Warfare.


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


Spiritual Warfare is never an attempt to gain the victory.  It is standing firm in what we already possess through Jesus Christ.  I have included this because I personally believe that each believer must understand this before any engagement is made in battle against our enemy.  If, in your mind, this fact is still up in the air, you will not be able to experience very much victory in your life.  That’s how important I believe this is.


Having said that, I don’t mean to say you will not have victory, for the ultimate victory has already been won for you by Jesus.  It does mean, however, that you will feel confused and defeated in trying to live the Christian life if you don’t get this down.  And it may cause you to miss the opportunities to enjoy His blessings,


Again, as a believer in Christ, we do not fight for victory; we fight from victory.  Get this!  In Christ’s power, we are invincible.  I am not trying to be clever with semantics here.  There’s a large difference between fighting for victory and fighting from victory.


In this lesson and the previous, I have emphasized that there is an invisible world, we fight an invisible war; that our foe is formidable and that we need to respect but not fear that foe.  The reason we don’t need to fear him is because of the wonderful fact that Jesus has already won this battle.  That means that when we fight, we are not trying to win.  We are enforcing the victory that Jesus has already secured.  Again, in His power, we are invincible.


The apostle Paul, in the book of Ephesians, assures us of complete victory, even before he tell us to put on the whole armor of God.


When Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians, he begins by telling us what Christ has accomplished.  The first three chapters tell of the amazing transformation that comes through the grace of God.  We have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, that is, the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.  We have been rescued from death to life, redeemed, made brand new, given an eternal inheritance, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.  Now we have been brought into a new entity called the church, which, Paul says in Ephesians, is a mystery hidden in the heart of God from eternity past.  This mystery brings Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, and male and female into one new relationship and one new body in Christ.


It should be comforting that Paul describes our battle and battle armor after he has already written emphatically about Jesus’ victory and our new life.  He did not give instructions about our warfare and then follow it up with a discussion of victory.  He began with the victory and ended with the warfare.  The order is important, especially for those who are waiting to win their battles before they can enjoy the Christian life.  The entire Ephesian letter promises us that the triumph is already accomplished.


I hope that every one of you have memorized Scriptures and continue to do so.  David said in the 119th Psalm:


11    Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.


I strongly believe Bible memorization is fundamental to spiritual formation.  Colossians 3:16 tells us to “let the word of God dwell in us richly.”  But, whether or not you have memorized Scriptures, the following four verses should be the next ones you memorize.


These verses contain promises which will remind you of who you are and what you have in Christ.  Whenever you are feeling defeated or anything but invincible in your battles, rehearse these promises often.  They have the potential to change the direction of your prayer life.  They will also align you with the truth God has given.


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.


That’s a fact!  God’s Spirit dwells within you, and is greater than Satan, who is the prince of this world.  That means that whenever you clash with the spirit of this world, you have the upper hand.


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?


Who is the one who overcomes?  He or she who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  If you are born of God, there is no reason not to overcome.  If you are a child of God, you have the victory.


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.


The saint spoken of here relied on the victory of Jesus – the blood of the Lamb.  Then they backed it up with their testimony of God’s victory.  They stood firm against the enemy, even when it cost them their lives.


James 4:7 NKJV


7      Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.


This dual approach of submitting to God and resisting the devil is an invincible stance.  God’s promise is certain.  Those who, in obedience to God, are living for him and resisting the enemy will overcome.




Most of you have heard me say this before.  When there is a great revival or a strong move of the Lord, new music is birthed.


This was true of the Reformation.  This event that happened 502 years ago didn’t just give birth to preaching and writing, but it inspired music and unleashed many songs.


In closing, I want you to consider the words of the great hymn written by Martin Luther.  He wrote nearly 40 hymns, many of which he composed both the music and the lyrics.  His most famous, of course, is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”


The hymn takes its inspiration from  Psalm 46, verses 1, 2, 7, 11.  Luther gets very specific, in that he names the person that is behind much of our troubles.  He is our ancient foe, the devil, who now has thousands of years of experience, and knows all the tricks to make you and I stumble or give up.


Look how Martin Luther expresses this thought in his classic hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”  Observe especially the second half of the first verse.


A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.


There is so much in this very first verse.  Right out of the gate he presents the mighty fortress we have in Jesus Christ.  The fifth line has the word “still” in it.  The enemy never quits, but keep firing at us.  That ancient foe is still at it, and we can never expect that it will cease.  Our enemy is smart and crafty and powerful.


He is driven by hate of anyone link to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  And there is not one of us, in our own strength, able to withstand him.


But Martin Luther does not end here the teaching of this hymn.


Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.


And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.


That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.



To review:


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


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


3.  Third Basic Truth:  Our Foe is Formidable


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


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