Tune Up Your Spiritual Defenses (part 4)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 6:10-18
“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
True Story: Sunrise was dawning when Los Angeles motorcycle police officer Bob Vernon saw a red pick-up truck speed through a stop sign. This guy must be late to work, he thought to himself. He turned on his emergency lights and radioed that he was in pursuit. The pickup pulled over, and the officer approached. “Meanwhile in the truck, the driver thought, The cops already know! He was scared. He rested his hand on the same gun he had used a few moments before to rob a twenty-four-hour market. The sack of stolen money was beside him on the seat.
“The officer said, ‘Good morning, sir, may I see your…’ “He never finished the sentence. The driver shoved his gun toward the policeman’s chest and fired from just inches away. The cop was knocked flat seven feet away. “A few seconds later, to the shock of the criminal, the officer stood up, pulled his service revolver, and fired twice. The first bullet went through the open window and smashed the windshield. The second tore through the door and ripped into the driver’s left leg. “Don’t shoot! The thief screamed, throwing the gun and sack of money out the pickup window. “What saved the policeman’s life was dozens of layers of Kevlar, the super strong fabric used for bulletproof vests. Only three-eighths of an inch thick, Kevlar can stop bullets cold.” (From the Encourager, by Charles Mylander )
As you know, this a dangerous world which we live in.
In 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 the apostle Paul writes,
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.”
Do you think the Apostle Paul understood something about the problems, trials and temptations that Christians have to deal with in this world. I believe he did. Just like that police officer, I believe that Paul knew that we need to be prepared for those surprise attacks that could knock us down or leave us bleeding spiritually. In our scripture reading which was read today (Eph 6:10-18) the Apostle Paul made it clear that we not only have to be on guard and stand firm, he also makes it clear here that there is a battle taking place on a spiritual level. And he warned those early Christians to prepare themselves for potential attacks just like that police officer who was wise enough to prepare himself for a potential attack that day.
It seems like not many of the Lord’s people know that we are in a war. I read a verse that just absolutely amazed me.
Revelation 12:7 says,
“There was war in heaven.”
We think about Heaven as a place of forever peace, but we learn about a war that was there.
If a spiritual war can take place in the unseen realm of Heaven then doesn’t it stand to reason that on this earth Christians are going to be engaged in some kind of warfare as well? God tells every Christian to, ‘Put on the armor.’ Why armor? Because we are in a battle. A spiritual war is going on, so Paul writes,
“Put on the whole armor of God so that you can take your stand against the wiles or schemes of the devil.”
It is therefore critically important that we maintain or even tune up our spiritual defenses. And that’s what this lesson is about today.
Take note of what Paul wrote there in Ephesians 6:12:
“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.”
This is not a battle against people. This is not a battle against mere human beings. We are in a warfare against supernatural forces of evil. What is that battle all about? It is about who shall have the supremacy, Christ or Satan. It is a struggle for the souls of men. It is a battle to keep people out of Hell. It is a struggle to get people saved. It is a war, a conflict until the end. And every one of us is engaged in it whether we realize it or not. This reality ought to keep us from folding our hands and taking it easy. It ought to make us sit up and take notices. But far too many of us have let our guard down. And while the Christian church and the people of God are taking it easy and ignoring this reality, the forces of evil are at work as never before. Radical Islamic behavior, terrorism, Atheism, liberalism, ritualism, greed, legalism and intellectualism are at work, while the church goes around oblivious to what’s happening.
God help us to realize we are in a war, in a battle. But We Do Have Some Defenses and some Weapons
The Lord didn’t leave us without a way to defend our self and something to fight with. In Eph. 6 here, I read about the 5 pieces of armor for defense, and two weapons to fight with, and win with.
The weapons of our warfare are not physical but spiritual. They have spiritual powers!
It is amazing, astounding, how little the average Christian understands and takes advantage of this armor and these weapons the Lord has given us.
SO WHAT DO WE HAVE TO PROTECT US? And what do we need to do to maintain or tune up of defenses ?
#1. FIRST AND FOREMOST WE MUST TURN TO GOD FOR VICTORY.
a. Time and time again, the Bible instructs us to rely upon God to deliver us from our enemy.
● In (Mt. 6:13), Jesus taught His Disciples how to pray. And one part of that prayer says,
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Who can deliver us from the evil one according to this verse?
Our Father in heaven!
●In (James 4:7), the Holy Spirit inspired James to write,
“Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”
So, before we can resist the Devil, we must submit to and trust in God!
● And here in (Eph. 6:10-11), the Bible says,
“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the Devil’s schemes.”
It is clear from these and others that if we want a good defense against Satan and his schemes, we must rely upon God. We can’t do it without Him! Here in Ephesians 6, the Bible instructs every Christian to put on the full armor of who? Of God! Only God can shield us from the deadly bullets that Satan fires at us. When you are under spiritual attack, meaning that you are being tempted to sin, or an evil thought crosses your mind tempting you to do wrong, the first thing you need to do is go to God in prayer and ask Him to help you to defeat it.
- If you are angry, and are about to say something ugly, go to God in prayer and ask Him for help.
- If you are about to lust over another human being, go to God in prayer.
- If you are about to gossip about someone, or do anything else evil we need to…. Go to God in prayer and ask Him to give you the strength to overcome the sin. When you ask, He will help you escape that temptation.
#2. SECOND, TO DEFEAT SATAN, WE MUST FULLY COMMIT OUR SELF TO THE LORD AND THE GENUINE CHRISTIAN LIFE STYLE. AND THEN WE MUST MAKE A COVENANT TO RESIST THAT WHICH IS EVIL.
I love what David says in Psalm 101:2-4 I believe every Christian should post it up on their refrigerator; he wrote:
”I will be careful to lead a blameless life… I will walk in my house with blameless heart. 3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. 4 Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.”
I also like very much what Job said so very long ago in Job 31:1,
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.”
What I hear these men saying and I believe what they did was to make a pact or a covenant with themselves that they would be fully committing to the Lord and His ways. And they made a commitment to themselves and to the Lord to live a blameless life. They purposely chose not to be in the presence of, nor put up with anything that was vile in God’s sight. Job even made a covenant with his own eyes not to look upon that which may have caused Him to lust. (Now that’s being committed to the Lord) Can you do that? Can you make a covenant with your eye not to look at anything that may cause you to sin? Can you make a covenant with your lips not to say anything that is foul, vile or unholy? Can you make a covenant with your ears not to listen to any one or anything that is unwholesome? Can you make a covenant with your hands not to use them in a way that is sinful? You can do all of these if you choose to. I believe that when you truly make a commitment to God like that, it is stronger than bullet proof Kevlar.
But we are also told to outright resist Satan and his attacks:
- James 4:7
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.”
Resisting Satan means opposing him, turning away from him, and having nothing to do with him and the temptations that he throws at us. A great passage of Scripture that we should use to resist the Devil is in Titus 2:12 which says,
“say no to ungodliness and worldly passions.”
If we leave one small sin in our lives, or if we put up with an evil that the Lord detests, that leaves an open door for the Devil and he will return and cause us misery. We must be fully committed to the Lord and His ways and purposely resist Satan. And if we do, we are told that he will flee from us.
#3. THIRD, TO DEFEAT SATAN, WE CAN ALSO GO ON A SPIRITUAL OFFENSE
There are times we need to turn the tables and go after Satan. We must attack Satan when he attacks us. THE ULTIMATE WEAPONS TO USE FOR THIS IS “THE WORD OF GOD” AND “THE POWER OF JESUS NAME.” There is absolutely nothing in this world like these weapons. Chapter 6 of Ephesians tells us that one of our weapons is
“the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
Can you imagine a fellow back then going off to fight and not having a sword? We are to have this sword, this weapon in our heart, in our life, and in our mind. But the average Christian does not use this weapon, the Word of God, very much, nor very effectively. When the Devil came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, three times from the Old Testament, Jesus said,
“It is written.… It is written.…It is written.”
When Jesus met the Devil, He unsheathed His sword and met the Devil with the Word of God. It is an amazing defense for every Christian. A Christian who does not have the habit of reading the Word of God for his own benefit is not going to be very strong. It is his primary weapon to protect himself with and overcome the foe. Listen! God has given you the weapon of His Word and we need to get our Bibles out and open them up every day, and read. If you don’t do it, you are like a soldier without a sword. The weapons of our warfare are not physical, but are mighty through God. How do we use the Word of God to attack Satan? Let’s imagine that you are being tempted to say something unkind to someone. Before you commit the sin, you can defeat Satan by meditation on a verse like (Eph. 4:29) which says,
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.”
When you quote a Scripture, it disarms the desire and the temptation. We need to memorize Scripture so we can defeat Satan. The Bible says in (Ps. 119:11), that we need to hide the Word of God in our hearts, so that we will not sin against Him. Whatever sin you are tempted to commit, memorize a specific verse and use it’s power to defeat Satan.
I believer that not only are we to quote Scripture to defeat Satan, but we are to use the power of Jesus’ name. There is power in the name of Jesus.
- Believers are baptized into His name (Acts 2:38).
- Believers are forgiven in His name (1 John 2:12).
- Believers pray through His name (Colossians 3:17).
- Believers have life in His name (John 20:31).
- Believers can defeat Satan and his troops in His name.
In (Luke 10:17), we read that Jesus sent out 72 disciples to minister to the people. And after their journey they came up to Jesus and said,
“Lord even the demons submit to us in your name.”
There is power in the name of Jesus. When you are tempted, and recognize that Satan is coming after you with his full artillery, go to the Father in prayer and ask Him to help you defeat Satan & his troops in power of Jesus Name.
Whether we believe it or not, or like it or not, we are in spiritual warfare. Our enemy is after our souls and we must be alert and ready to fight. My challenge for you this day is to tune up your spiritual defenses.
To defeat Satan, we must do several things.
- First, we must turn to God for His power and strength.
- Second, we must truly commit our self to God and His holy ways and consciously resist evil and the Devil’s schemes .
- And last of all, we must go on a spiritual offensive and use the Word of God and the power of Jesus’ name in prayer.
Don’t lets Satan and his evil ways get the best of you!
Lesson material based on sermons by Joel Curry and James Merritt
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566