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THE INVISIBLE SPIRITUAL WAR

C. S. Lewis has observed that there are two errors that can be made about the invisible spiritual war.  One is to not believe that it exists and the other is to have "an excessive and unhealthy interest" in it.  May our study lead us to know our enemy, but not become so Satan/demon-focused that it hinders our relationship with the One who is victorious in this war.

THE ENEMY

1. His names: Satan (adversary) (Matt 4:10), enemy (I Pet 5:8,9; Matt 13:39), murderer and father of lies (Jn 8:44), prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (Eph 2:2), accuser of the brothers (Rev 12:10), the evil one (Mt 13:19,38), the tempter (Mt 4:3; I Thess 3:5), ruler of darkness (Col 1:13), prince of this world (Jn 12:31), god of this age (II Cor 4:4)
2. His origin and fall:
    His original state (Ezek 28:11-15a)
    His fall: (Ezek 28:15-19; Isa 14:12-17)
3. His heart:
    His heart: a lawless rebel (I Jn 3:4,8; Dan 7:25; II Thess 2:3,4), evil ( Eph     6:16), a liar (Jn 8:44), destroyer (Rev 9:11), and blasphemer (Rev 13:5,6)
4. His goals:

Deception: false doctrine (Eph 4:14; I Tim 4:1-3); false Jesuses (I Jn 2:22, 4:1-3; II Cor 11:4); false gods and false worship (II Thess 2:4); false godliness (II Tim 3:5); false spirituality (Deut 18:9-13; Lev 20:6,27: Col 2:16-19, 20-23); false miracles (II Thess 2:9; Matt 24:24) false Christians (Matt 13:24-26, 36-39; Acts 20:28-30); false prophesy (Deut 18:22; Jer 23:16-18,21,22, 25-30); false happiness (Jude 4; Rev 2:20); false teachers (II Cor 11:13-15)
Accusation: He accuses us before God (Job 1:8-11, 2:3-6; Zech 3:1-3; I Jn 2:1,2; Rev 12:10).  He uses men to accuse us (Col 2:13-16; II Cor 10:10).  He uses the lack of forgiveness of others as an opportunity to condemn us (II Cor 2:10,11; Eph 4:26,27).  He uses demonic spirits to accuse us and enslave us to fear and guilt (Rom 8:15; Heb 2:14,15; Matt 27:3-5).
Perversion: by changing and perverting truth into lies (Rom 1:25; Gal 1:7; Acts 20:30; Isa 5:20); by perverting God's good gifts into something bad (I Tim 4:1-5; Jude 4); by perverting worship (Rom 1:25b); and turning love into hate (Matt 24:12; II Tim 3:3)
Destruction: by seeking to destroy God's people (II Cor 12:7; I Pet 5:8; Acts 20:29); by seeking to hinder God's work through God's servants (Acts 20:29; I Thess 2:18); by seeking to destroy God's work in people (I Tim 3:6); by seeking to destroy people through our sin (I Cor 5:5); by seeking to use men to persecute and kill Christians (I Jn 3:12,13; Rev 20:4; Jesus' and Stephen's deaths; Jn 8:44)
Enslavement: by enslaving men in darkness (II Cor 4:4; Rev 12:9); by enslaving men to sin and to himself (Eph 2:1,2; I Jn 5:19; Acts 10:38: II Tim 2:26; Acts 5:3) by using us to fulfil his purposes (Eph 4:26,27; Matt 16:23); by in the future in enslaving the whole world to the Antichrist (II Thess 2:4; Rev 13:5-8)


OUR ENEMY'S ARMY – WHO ARE THEY?

1. Their names:

"Daimon" (Matt 8:31; Lk 8:29; Rev 18:2); "Daimonion" (63 times); "Pneumata" (43 times) (in Lk 10:17-20 used interchangeably with "daimonion") (in Rev 16:14 – "spirit of demons")

2. Their origin:

Demons and fallen angels are the same beings (Matt 12:24, 25:41; Rev 12:7). The fallen angels fell with Satan (Rev 12:4,9).

3. Their number:

There are thousands and thousands of angels (Rev 5:11).  One third of the angels appear to have fallen with Satan (Rev 12:3,4).  So, there are thousands and thousands of demons.

4. Their nature:

They are persons: They have names (Mk 5:9) and individual personalities (I Kings 22:20-23; Lk 11:14; Matt 12:22).  They have minds (Lk 4:34, 8:28; Acts 19:15), emotions (Lk 8:31; James 2:19); wills (Matt 12:43,44; Mk 5:11-13); and speech (Mk 1:23,24; Lk 4:33,34).  They are evil and powerful (Acts 19:13-16; Mk 5:3).  They are unclean (Mk 1:23,26,27).  They are spirit beings (referred to as spirits 43 times).  They are able to indwell a man and control him (I Kings 22:20-23 and the many cases of demon possession in the Gospels) (There are no cases of demon possession of Christians in the Bible.  Satan is unable to conquer God/the strong man to invade a Christian – Matt 12:29; I Jn 5:18).  They vary in degrees of wickedness (Matt 12:45).

5. Their diversity

In Eph 6:12 we are told of at least four divisions among demons: 1) principalities – possibly demons over regions or countries (Dan 10:13,20); 2) powers; 3) rulers of darkness – probably demons who initiate all types of spiritual darkness (the occult, atheistic humanism, false religion, cults, etc.); and 4) spiritual wickedness in high places – possibly the initiators of wickedness in our world (murders, wars, rapes, etc.).  Individual demons appear to have different functions: lying (I Kings 22:20-23); blind and dumb spirits (Matt 12:22; Lk 11:14),….

6. Their present location:

Some are chained in prison (II Pet 2:4; Jude 6-7).  Some are confined in the Abyss (Lk 8:31; Rev 9:1-3,11) (Satan will be bound in the Abyss for 1000 years, Rev 20:3,7,8).  Some are now free (the demons that are active in the world today).

7. What can they do:

They can entice men to worship them (Demons are behind idolatry: Deut 32:16,17; Hos 4:12, 5:4; Ps 106:36-38; I Cor 10:20).  They propagate false wisdom (James 3:14-16); propagate their own doctrine (I Tim 4:1-4; I Jn 4:1-3; II Cor 11:4); and perform counterfeit miracles ( II Thess 2:9; Rev 13:13,15; Moses' and Pharaoh's magicians – Exod 7:10-12, 17:18, 19, 9:11).  They can torment, trouble, and oppress people (Lk 6:18; Acts 5:16).  They can move people to self-indulgence and sexual immorality (Rev 18:2,3); cause physical problems (Matt 9:32,33, 12:22, 17:15-18; Lk 13:11); move people to attack someone and even murder someone (Rev 18:2,24); lead countries to war (Rev 16:14); and enslave people to fear (II Tim 1:7).  They can predict the future (Acts 16:16-18; not infallibly – like fortune tellers); impersonate the dead (I Sam 28:7-8; Deut 18:9-12); and create a spirit of eeriness (Job 4:14,15).


OUR ARMY AND OUR WARFARE

We are more than conquerors (Matt 16:18; II Cor 2:14, 10:3-6)

Our victory in Christ:
1. In His death and resurrection (Col 1:13-14, 2:13-15; Heb 2:14-15)
2. In His exaltation and victory (I Pet 3:22; Eph 1:19-2:7)

How to stand in our victory:
1. Be strong in Christ (Eph 6:10)
2. Put on the full armor of God (Eph 6:11-18): the belt of truth (6:14),

breastplate ofrighteousness (6:14), gospel of peace (6:15), shield of faith (6:16), helmet ofsalvation (6:17; I Thess 5:8); the sword of the Spirit – word of God (6:17), andprayer (6:18).

Additional guidelines for warfare:
1. Remember the following: Satan is under God's control (Job 1:10-12, 2:3-6);     God uses Satan to accomplish his purposes (Job 1,2; II Cor 12:7-9); Jesus     Christ is interceding for us (I Jn 2:1,2; Heb 7:25; Jn 17:15; Lk 22:31,32); and     nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Rom 8:31-39).
2. Be sober and alert (I Pet 5:8).
3. Test everything (I Thess 5:20,21; I Jn 4:1-3)
4. Stand against Satan (I Pet 5:9).
5. The war is to be fought with Christ-like character (II Tim 2:24-26).
6. We have Jesus Christ's authority to battle in His war (Matt 28:18).
7. When we fail in this war we are to gain back our victory (James 4:1-10): by     humbly admitting our sin (4:1-6), choosing to submit to God and His ways     (4:7); drawing near to God for cleansing (4:8,10); and God will lift us up     (4:10; Ps 51:12-17)
8. Expect to triumph (II Cor 2:14; Matt 16:18; Rom 16:20; I Cor 15:58; Heb     11:6; Gal 6:9; II Tim 4:7,8)

Beware when you hear any of the following:
1. Magic formulas that will get you certain results – certain spiritual guidance,
    certain spiritual success, certain spiritual power, certain good health, certain     riches (if you do the right formula, God is obligated to respond).  Examples of     formulas: positive confession, seed faith, point of contact, prayer clothes,     prayer over letters, "Come Holy Spirit!"  etc.

2. Depending on experiences and feelings rather than on God's word.  Examples     of putting faith in experiences: the Toronto Blessing, holy laughter, speaker     who focus primarily on creating an emotional experience, highly emotional     services, etc.

3. Christians who claim that God audibly told them to do something or God told     them that you should do something. 

4. Manipulations that give the impression that God is doing something     supernatural when nothing supernatural is actually taking place.  Examples of     these type of manipulations: slain in the Spirit, highly emotional services,     vibrator under the stage of healing service, secret radio and ear phones,     exaggeration of natural occurrences to make them seem supernatural,     touching someone with a vibrating hand to give impression that God's Spirit     is working in them supernaturally, etc.

5. Ministries that are demon-focused rather than Christ-focused.  This can     become little more than spiritism.  

6. When people claim that God or an angel regularly speaks to them.

7. When people focus on angels, some person, etc. to the extent that they     become a focus of worship.

8. A list of dos and don'ts that are not found in the Bible

9. A focus on spiritual power and miraculous signs rather than on Christian
    character and service.

Discussion Questions
1. Do you believe that Christians have the authority to cast out demons today?     Explain your answer.

 

2. What are some signs that Satan is having victory in our individual lives?
    in our Church?

 

3. What are some Satan-inspired threats to the Church today?

 

4. What can we do to be victorious over Satan in our individual lives?  in our     Church? in our world?

 

5. How can you apply the teaching in Ephesians 6 about putting on our spiritual
    armor?

 

Resources:  ANGELS, SATAN AND DEMONS by Robert Lightner; HOW TO MEET THE ENEMY by John MacArthur; YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL by Dwight Pentecost, THE STRATEGY OF SATAN by Warren Wiersbe; MIRACLES OR MAGIC by Andre Kole; THE COVERING, CHRISTIANITY IN CRISIS, and COUNTERFEIT REVIVAL by Hank Hanegraaff