sermon

Spiritual Warfare

5-26-2019

by Elder Ken Ference

Brothers and Sisters in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are in a war, but it is not war as we have come to know war. It is a war that does not show itself until the damage has been done. It is a war that the enemy does covertly and has devastating results. This war is a Spiritual War. The enemy is evil and is Satan. We can’t see Satan but we see his works on a daily basis all through our lives. Each day we are seeing more decay and evil being spread into our daily lives. Today’s television programs glorify evil. Where television series at one time used to make the good guys win, now they show the better of two evils winning. We see more sex related and devious shows, commercials, ads, social media, and porn sites, which tear down our society more than ever before. With the accessibility so easily and readily available; within seconds we are bombarded with pages of information. We are a nation that wants immediate action. We want everything right this second. Our food, our pleasures, our desires, all of our wants taken care of this very minute. We can blast people on social media all across the world within seconds. It doesn’t matter if it is truth or lies that are being sent out. Social media is the easiest way to destroy and bully someone. It is easy because the user doesn’t have to face the person, so there is no immediate shame in it. There is no guilt to feel at the time. There is only hatred spewed out within a matter of seconds. Satan is at work here. There are many battles and we have to be prepared for them. The bible gives us ways to combat the evil enemy. We must take the time to learn how to defend against the evil enemy. As with any Army, we must train and prepare for the Spiritual battles. We are given training and instruction by God’s Holy Word. In Ephesians 6 verses 10-18 Paul tells us to” 10 finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench 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 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.”

The principal weapon at the enemy’s disposal that allows him to gain ground in the spiritual war is not power but deception. The basic strategy for Satan’s spiritual assault is spreading lies and deceit. So to counter that threat we need to arm ourselves with truth. As in 2 Corinthians 10 verses 3-5”Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human,[c but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Jesus warned that the devil “is a liar and the father of lies.” It would be easy to identify Satan if he were to appear before us with a red suit, long tail, pitchfork, and his horns on his head but that is not how he would appear to us. He uses deceit and treachery to his advantage to wage his war. He is disguised or uses his demons to help him in his war for our souls. Let’s take a look at the Apostle Paul, who gave up a life of living and thriving by the Mosaic law to become an itinerant preacher of a gospel that got him whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, hunted, betrayed, tormented by anxiety, left in the cold, and deprived of food, water, and sleep—not to mention harassed by that “thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan sent to torment me and keep me from becoming proud” (2 Cor. 12:7 NLT). The devil tried everything in his power to keep Paul from spreading the truth of Jesus’s teachings. Paul suffered all of this and still kept his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior. Would we be able to resist the devil having suffering all of these trials and pains? Would we be able to see the evidence of the spiritual warfare having suffered like Paul did? Would we know this was the handiwork of evil and not the will of God? And would we know how to combat the evil?

Spiritual warfare exists in the unseen, supernatural dimension, where God is all powerful and Satan is in revolt. Spiritual warfare is unseen but it is definitely real. The bible speaks of spiritual warfare in many places. Spiritual warfare is a reality of Christian life. We must always be on guard against evil and know how to combat it. In general, people know right from wrong, good from bad, things that can hurt us or things that can help us. We know the differences when we physically see them and God gave us the gift of choosing. As stated in our readings today; the people made the wrong decisions and turned from God and God had warned them what would happen if they turned from him. He gave them numerous warnings all throughout the Old Testament times and yet they still turned away from him. Just like society is today. Churches are closing, congregations are dwindling, there is no trust in authority, no respect, and society could care less in believing that Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead in order for us to be saved. Hope and belief are going by the wayside and Satan is loving it. He has recruited demons to positions of authority and trust; to use them to wage spiritual warfare. We see this when we read of another clergyman being investigated for abuse, another politician being investigated and charged in corruption, when a police officer abuses his/her own authority. How can we expect young minds to understand and respect God when all of this evil is being permitted to go on in our society? People may ask, where is God during all of these events and why is it being permitted? People may even doubt there is a God. One of Satan’s other tools is casting doubt. We are also held accountable for evil because of our own disregard for being careful, for being disobedient, and for being lazy. Another of Satan’s strategy since he can-not overthrow God is to try to tear God’s image out of us by turning us into blasphemers and non-believers. Scripture commands us to stand up, be strong, and do battle against our flesh and the devil. Satan will go to extremes in attempting to stop the truth of God’s words from being spread throughout the world. He uses religions and cults to spread his evil by having people praise other idols and icons as a god. We are a society who are free to practice our faith as Christians and yet we are afraid to speak of Jesus Christ in public. There are countries where Christians are put to death for their practice of Christianity and belief that Jesus Christ is their Savior and yet we are afraid to offend someone in our own country because we may speak the truth. Our men and women of the Armed Services have fought and died to protect and defend our right to freedom of religion. So after all of this information in regards to spiritual warfare let us look at Spiritual leadership to combat evil. We know God will have the ultimate victory but He calls upon us to be His soldiers in the battle by waging spiritual warfare for good and truth. We can do this by interceding in the name and authority of our Savior Jesus Christ. Our prayers can assist in breaking down demonic barriers and release the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus urged his disciples to be vigilant, warning them not to be distracted by “the cares of this life, the lure of wealth and the desire for nice things as related to us in Mark chapter 4 verse 19.

We need to know and spread the good news that Jesus Christ holds the key to hope, salvation, and eternal life. One of God’s tools for us to use is staying in the faith. God equips us with strength, wisdom and the ability to discern through His own Spirit. God knows what we are facing at all times and He said “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Have faith in the knowledge that God never changes. He is the same as yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is almighty and the Creator of all life. He is the truth and the Light. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity that together as one; will destroy evil once and for all eternity and give life again to all believers and those who do not turn their backs to Him.

In 1 Corinthians 15 verse 57 we read “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In John 16 verse 33 we read “I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Further in 1 Corinthian 10 verse 15 we read “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

I urge you all to spend time in reading the scriptures. Spend time each day alone with God. Pray faithfully and turn over your problems to God and be patient and wait for God’s answer. It may not come immediately but by spending time daily with God, you will know when he has answered you.

A common weapon for us to use according to God’s command taught by Jesus “is to love God above all else and to love each other as God has loved us.” God wants us to battle evil with love. Where the devil wants to spread hatred, let us show love. When we pray for others we show our love for others in a heavenly way. Let us not turn our backs to God for we know what happened to the people who turned from God as it is proclaimed throughout the bible.

On this Memorial Day, I want all of you to stop and think about all of the Armed Service members, Public Safety employees, and all who have lost their lives in the service of Christ; who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with losing their life so that others may live free. Remember especially that Jesus Christ paid with His blood, death and resurrection in order that we may live in God’s heavenly kingdom with all of the believers.

It is time for us to stand up to evil wherever it tries to show up. Remember we are full of the grace of God in our battle against evil. Although, we may falter at times, God is with us always.

I found these below prayers that I want to share with you in an Article written by a minister’s wife. Her name is Debbie McDaniel

Let us pray.

Dear God,

The battle feels intense some days. We get tired and worn, weary and discouraged. It’s hard to keep going in the face of defeat and overwhelming struggle. But help us to remember that you will never leave us, for you are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Thank you for your presence with us, thank you for your Almighty Shadow. Thank you that you go before us and cover us from behind. We believe that you are in our midst, and you hold us secure in whatever we face.

We know that the enemy wouldn’t be fighting so hard against us if we weren’t making a difference for your kingdom. He wouldn’t be trying so hard to stop us, if he didn’t think you had so much good still in store. Remind us today Lord, that the battle belongs to you, and whatever we’re up against can be taken down in one fell swoop by your mighty hand. Please help us to trust you more, to stop wasting time just spinning our wheels or fighting in our strength. Forgive us for the times we’ve neglected to set our eyes and hearts on you, for the days we’ve forgotten to come to you first. Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit. Fill us with your wisdom and discernment to make us aware of the enemy’s traps, so we can stand strong against his schemes. Thank you for your constant reminders that your presence will go with us, in whatever we face, and you will give us rest. Lord, we ask for your peace…

… we ask for your protection, we trust that you are fighting in ways we can’t always see. And we know that we never fight alone, for you are always at work on behalf of your children – shielding, protecting, strengthening, and covering us from the attacks we face even when we’re unaware. Thank you for the victories in our lives that have no explanation “but God.” We give you the glory and honor for all you’re doing in our lives every day, even in the times we can’t fully understand your thoughts and ways.

We ask for your Spirit to lead us, for your peace to guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover us, and for your blessing to surround. We love you Lord…we need you. We stand firm today in your great and powerful Name. Help us to keep our eyes on you.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

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