Spiritual Warfare – Part 1 “Knowing Your Enemy”
Until now our lessons have dealt with the sin problem and God’s response or remedy for man’s lost condition. We learned of His unconditional love for mankind, and how that love drove Him to the cross to be the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. Next we learned about the process designed by God whereby fallen man could become a new creature in Christ, created after God in righteousness and true holiness. In our last lesson, “Getting to Know Him”, we learned about the purpose of our calling – i.e. being followers or disciples of Christ, and the necessity of consistent and fervent prayer.
In today’s lesson we are going to explore the fact that God and His followers have spiritual enemies whose ultimate goal is to destroy the work of God by causing His followers to fall away through the deceitfulness of sin and a spirit of unbelief. The primary enemy of all good is Satan, also called the devil, prince of this world, God of this world, prince of the power of the air, serpent, dragon, enemy,etc.
Satan: Strongs H7853 – an opponent, adversary.
Devil: Strongs G1228 – a traducer (false accuser, slanderer)
Scriptures referring to the enemy of our souls:
1Jn 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.*
2Co 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 2 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The Actual Existence of Satan
Scripture testifies that Satan does indeed exist. We see him in the earliest chapters of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, all the way to the latest chapters of the last book, Revelation. He is mentioned in seven books of the Old Testament. In the New Testament nineteen books refer to Satan, with all of the writers represented in those books. Furthermore, Jesus speaks of Satan no less than twenty-five different times.
Mat 4:10-11 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Luk 4:3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Examples of Satan’s Influence on Man’s Bodies, Thoughts and Actions
1Ch 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
Luk 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
Joh 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Luk 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Luk 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
What Is the Function of Demons?
We must turn then to the Bible which, because it is God’s word on the subject, and is authoritative and beyond contradiction. God knows all about these beings because He originally created them and then witnessed firsthand as they rebelled against Him and fell from their state of holiness. He is also aware of all their activities–past, present and future.
Actually we find that the biblical information on the function of demons is limited. As we have noted, demons are hardly referred to at all in the Old Testament. We see them much more in the Gospels as Jesus in His ministry confronts and casts them out of people who are controlled by them. As we continue into the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, however, once again the available information isn’t very abundant, though there are still a few references to demonic activity. For now let us understand that the limited nature of such information might give us a clue as to what God’s attitude is toward our interest in such things. Perhaps God doesn’t want us to be overly preoccupied with demons and demonic activity. (In Part 2 of this lesson we will study God’s weapon systems that He has designed for our defensive strategies).
So, then, what demons are up to might be summed up as: serving and assisting Satan in his opposition to God and in the destruction of man whom God loves. This summary statement lets us know that no matter what else, the ultimate goal of demons is to thwart God’s purposes and to hurt people.
Beyond that, the scriptures do attest to the fact that Satan and his demonic hosts appear to be very well organized. Paul used certain words to describe the hierarchy of spirit beings and that the context determined whether he was speaking of God’s angels or Satan’s. One such passage which is clearly speaking of the devil’s evil organization is Ephesians 6:10-12:
Eph 6:10-12 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The late Brother Billy Cole, mentor of Brother Doug Klinedinst, once preached a message about his encounter with highly organized demonic activity during a crusade in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. According to Brother Cole, there appeared to be definite geographical zones of demonic leadership throughout the city of Rio. He also spoke of several aggressive demonic attacks on his group of ministers while he was there.
Much more could be discussed on the activities and strategies of the powers of darkness, but as Paul said:
2Co 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Although it is important to know the enemy and understand how he operates, our primary focus should be on using the resources God has provided for our spiritual well being and protection; and next week we will be covering Part 2 of this lesson, “The Weapons of Our Warfare”.