How the Bible Preps Us for Spiritual Warfare


Listen in as Blake Holmes talks about spiritual warfare. He warns us that when it comes to spiritual warfare avoid two extremes: total paranoia and complete disregard. Instead, we should know that spiritual warfare is real, it's coming for you, and it's already been won by our Savior Jesus Christ.

Blake HolmesAug 9, 2015
Ephesians 6:12

In This Series (12)
The Tree of Salvation and How to End on the Right Branch
Todd WagnerSep 13, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for the Return, the Rapture and the Rupture: Setting Our Heart Not the Date
Todd WagnerAug 30, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for THAT Day
Todd WagnerAug 23, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Loneliness
David PenuelAug 16, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Failure
David MarvinAug 16, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Doubt
Adam TarnowAug 16, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for the Future
Harrison RossAug 9, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Spiritual Warfare
Blake HolmesAug 9, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Perseverance
Drew ZeilerAug 9, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Surprises
Rick SmithAug 2, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Pornography and Lust
Jonathan PokludaAug 2, 2015
How the Bible Preps Us for Addictions
John ElmoreAug 2, 2015

I have 10 minutes to talk about spiritual warfare. When I bring up that subject, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? Think about that. When you hear the phrase spiritual warfare, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? Probably, for many of you, the first thing that comes to your mind are those cartoon characters of the Devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. That's the way we were raised. We've seen those fictitious characters many times before.

Others of us probably have been influenced by a materialistic worldview that outright denies the spiritual world, so we don't think of anything. We reject the whole notion of the spiritual world. For us, seeing is believing. Therefore, because I can't see it, I don't believe it. That's the way many people live. On the opposite extreme of that are those who live in a sense of paranoia, if you will; those who believe there's a demon hiding behind every tree and under every rock.

C.S. Lewis has rightly said there are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence, and the other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. So this morning, I want to talk to you about what the Bible has to say about spiritual warfare. I want to open your mind up to the reality of spiritual warfare, yet at the same time, I don't want you to walk with a paranoia, fear, and sense of dread but confidence in what Christ has provided for you.

1._ The war is real_. We live in the midst of a spiritual war, and it all began, according to Isaiah 14, when Satan, who was originally an angel of light, rebelled against God and was, therefore, cast out of heaven. We see him in Genesis 3 then come and tempt Adam and Eve to join in the rebellion against God, and sure enough, that's exactly what they choose, believing they could become like God in rebelling against him, and that is where sin and death entered into the world.

Write down Romans, chapter 5. You can read more about that then. That's where spiritual warfare began: when we were at war against a common enemy. It's a war we cannot see. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."

The war is real. It's a war we can't see. It works much like the wind, if you will. If you think about hurricane-force winds, I can't see the wind, yet I can't deny its reality. I can feel it, and I certainly can see its devastating effects. I can feel temptation. I can feel being pulled by pride and lust and anger and bitterness and jealousy and strife and selfishness.

I can't see that, but I can feel it. I can certainly see the devastating results in my own life when I give into that, when I turn on the news or read the paper and see about murder and rape and war and crime and theft and corruption and greed and famine. The war is real.

2._ The war is for you_. You have an enemy. The Bible could not be more clear on this. I'm going to give you a long list of verses, and all of this is going to be online so you can go back and get it later on. This Enemy is known by many names. He's commonly referred to as Satan, which literally means our adversary; or Lucifer, son of the morning; Beelzebub, chief of the demons. He's referred to as the Devil or a slanderer. Jesus called him the Liar and Father of Lies.

Peter calls him an Enemy. He's our tempter. Jesus calls him our murderer, a prince of this world, accuser of the brethren. He's the Lawless One. He's the Evil One. You and I have an enemy, and his desire is to entice your heart, ambush your heart, your soul, and your mind. How does he do this? The Bible is clear. He attacks us (Ephesians 6:12). He plants doubt. He blinds us from understanding God's plan of salvation (2 Corinthians 4:4). Note that. He lies and deceives us.

He promotes division and quarrels and strife. He tempts you to sin. He promotes false religion. He inflicts disease. He stands to accuse you so you'll feel shame and guilt. He persecutes you. He prevents us from carrying out what God intends us to do in ministering to others, but ultimately, Peter warns us, his desire is to destroy us. His desire is to keep you from having a relationship with Jesus Christ. His desire is to take away anything that is good in your life.

James 1 says that every good gift comes from God above, and it's the Enemy's desire to rob you of that. Peter describes him this way. Look at what he says in 1 Peter 5:8. "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." The war is real, and the war is for you, but the good news for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as your one and only Savior…

3._ The war is won_. It is true in Genesis 3 and in Romans 5 and other places that the wages of sin are death. It is true that sin and death have entered into our world, but the good news is that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ, and as fully God and fully man, he bore our penalty on the cross. The penalty for our sin has been paid for, and death has been overcome because of what Christ has accomplished.

Hebrews 2:14-15 says, "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same…" God became man so he could serve as our substitute, because you can't be a substitute for that which you are not. "…that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives."

The penalty, the debt of our sin was paid for, and death was overcome through Christ's death, his burial, and his resurrection. The war is won, and we can experience victory over temptation in our lives because God does not leave us alone. He has given us weapons with which to fight the Enemy. He has given us the Word, the Scriptures. The psalmist understood this. Psalm 119:9-11: "How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. […] Your word I have treasured [hidden] in my heart, that I may not sin against You."

God has not only given us his Word but he has given us prayer. This is why Paul admonishes us in Ephesians 6. "With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…" We are to pray continuously, to guard ourselves.

God has not only given us the Word and prayer to overcome the power of sin in our lives but he has given us biblical community. That's why we call you constantly to not live in isolation but live in community with others. "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that no one may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness," Hebrews says.

Finally, we have this promise that when we live in humble obedience… James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you." The war has been won. The penalty for sin has been met. Death has been overcome.

The power of sin in our lives of temptation can be overcome by what God has given to us, and ultimately, for those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as our one and only Savior, we have the promise that one day Christ will return and will eradicate even the very presence of sin. The book of Revelation speaks of his return and our great hope.

"And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.'"

The war has been won. One day we have the great hope, reassurance, and promise that we are going to see God face-to-face and the very presence of sin will be removed. To illustrate this point, I need a volunteer from the audience. I'm willing to pay $100. Now everybody is pretty interested. If you were asleep, you're awake now. If you've been to CrossFit, you've been working out, you feel pretty strong, you think you can hold your own in a little arm wrestling contest… I've been working out myself.

So if you think you can hold your own, I'll give you $100, but I need a volunteer. All right. I see David Penuel over there. If you know David Penuel, this ought to be good. Come on up, David. You're doing a little CrossFit, been working out? Oh, you have a Fitbit. All right. David has a Fitbit, so he feels pretty good right now. If he wins, I'm going to give him $100, and if he loses he doesn't have to pay me anything. That's a pretty good deal for him.

Now what I didn't tell David, though… I never mentioned who he's going to arm wrestle. I just told you I'd been working out, but I want to show you who you're going to arm wrestle. Hey, Abner, you're going to arm wrestle my friend. Come here. How's that Fitbit working now, baby? I've decided in my generosity we're going to make it $500 now. Here we go.

All right, I have 10 minutes to speak on spiritual warfare, boys. Roll up that sleeve. Let them see the guns, man. Are you ready? Abner, you want to roll up that sleeve? Here we go. All right, David, you're going to give it everything you have. Five hundred dollars is on the line. Are you ready? Here we go. Go! Come on, David. Come on! All right, Abner, go ahead and win that thing. There we go. You need your money back on that thing.

Here's the point of this, gang. If you understand the war is real, if you understand the war is for you, you need to understand the war is won because of what Christ accomplished for you on the cross. He doesn't leave you to fight alone. Just as I have an advocate (Abner works out so I don't have to is what I tell him), so you have an advocate.

This is the picture I want you to walk away with. It is not a dualistic worldview, like some Star Wars force, where we hope the good outweighs the bad. That's not it. This is not the struggle, gang, biblically. This is the picture. The war has been won through Christ. Let me pray for us.

Father in heaven, I thank you that we have an advocate in Jesus Christ. I thank you, Father, for your kindness and your grace, that you don't leave us to fight alone. I thank you the penalty for sin has been paid for, death has been overcome, that, Father, you don't leave us alone, that you give us your Word, your people, you give us prayer, you allow us to walk in humble obedience, to know you.

I thank you for the reassurance that greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world, 1 John 4 teaches us. I thank you that one day, Lord, we will see the ultimate realization of victory over sin and death when we are removed from the presence of sin at the coming of your Son Jesus. It's in his name we pray, amen.