The Spiritual Warfare of the Christian
T. J. de Ruiter, Pastor and Teacher
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1. The Spiritual Warfare
Most Christians know that there is a spiritual war going on between God and Satan. Satan seeks to hinder the child of God on his journey to his eternal destiny. The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:8 that Satan is attacking the believers as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The apostle Paul fought since his conversion against the forces of evil and when he felt that the end of his life approached he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.” Indeed, the Lord and His disciples did not teach the Christian that he would enter heaven without having to struggle for it, (Luke 13:24) The believer may be sure in faith that God through His grace en sustaining love will give him eternal life. But he should nevertheless realize that there is an enemy, who will do his evil best to hinder him from reaching that wonderful goal.
The war is against spiritual authorities and forces
Please read Ephesians 6:10-20Before Paul closed his letter to the church in Ephesus he advised her to be alert for attacks Of evil spiritual powers. He encouraged the Christians to arm themselves by being strong in fellowship with the Lord and in the power of His might, (Ephesians 6:10). Then he continues writing them to put on the whole armour of God because this battle is not against beings of flesh and blood but against powerful wicked spirits, such as principalities (Greek ‘archas’), powers, authorities (Greek ‘exousias’), worldrulers, (Greek ‘kosmokratoras’) and spiritual hosts of wickedness, (Greek ‘pneumatika’) in the heavenly places, (Greek ‘epouranios’). It seems that evil spirits live in a low region of the heavens and not in the highest heaven where the throne of God stands.
a. They are spiritual and not physical, human.
They are evil, living in
the kingdom of darkness, far away and separated from God, Who is
try to damage and destroy
the children of God and tempt them to sin. This was already evident in the first attack of the devil, (Genesis 3).
They are rulers and
authorities with great power in the kingdom of darkness. Ephesians
is not the only place in the Holy Scriptures where is written about the evil, spiritual powers.
Read what is written by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:8-11.
Read what is written by the apostle James in James 4:7.
Read what is written by the apostle John in Revelation 12:7-12.
Please notice what the Lord said about the evil worldruler in John 14:30 and notice also the role that the devil had in Judas in the betrayal of Jesus, ( John 13:27).
God made it clear to devout believers under the Old Covenant that there were aggressive, evil identities that hindered the spiritual servants of God, (Daniel 10:13; Zechariah 3:3).
Questions to answer and for discussion
1. Do you see, in general the influence and work of the evil powers in the Church in her history up to today?
2. Referring to your answer above, would you write down some of our observations
3. How much are you aware in your life and ministry for the Lord of the existence and hindering activities of the powers of dankness?
4. Please write down in what way and how you are aware of the activities of these evil forces.
next lesson goes about the
spiritual armour in Ephesians 6:13-17.
2. The spiritual armour of the Christian
Read Ephesians 6:13-17
To be able to withstand and overcome the forces of darkness the Christian must take the armour that God has provided for him. The armour must be ready to be used even when at a certain moment the war seems to have subsided. The evil one is crafty and therefore he will also attack when the Christian thinks that he can relax. Only when you are sure that the Lord Himself gives you rest and protects you against attacks of Satan you can relax. Now we are going to look closely at the several components of the armour in Ephesians 6:14-17.
The teaching is clear. It is the truth that puts and keeps everything in the right order in our life and in the relationship with other Christians and the Lord. Lies and all manner of deceptive teachings are weakening Christians themselves and as an army, the body of Christ. Church history shows this all too clear it seems to me.
Paul has with the concept of righteousness undoubtedly in mind the righteous state of being forgiven of all wrong doing and being cleansed from all sin through the sacrifice of Christ. The result was that he had received a perfect state with God. Paul knew as no other Jew at that time because of his great passion in his unconverted state of receiving righteousness before God through the law and his zeal for God, what a wonderful rest and spiritual power this righteousness by faith in Christ had given. It is true for every Christian that this righteousness by faith is a powerful armour against all attacks on our spiritual heart and lungs, two most important functions for healthy, vital and powerful living. The knowledge that our heart is cleansed from sin is powerful against all accusations of the devil that we are condemnable, lost sinners – Paul knew such accusations, for the devil brought his past sins sometimes in remembrance. Yes, our faith in the blood of Christ by which we are forgiven and being declared righteous, protects us against all satanic accusations, (Revelation 12:11).
3. Have the feet shod with the equipment of the Gospel of peace
Shoes of the preparation of the good message of peace give men, when they believe the message with their heart, peace with God, peace in their hearts and with other men. There are religions that spread their faith and message with violence, but the pure Gospel is a message of peace. In Isaiah 52:7 the prophet wrote: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion: “Your God reigns.”
4. Take the shield of faith
The apostle wrote in Ephesians 6:16 that the Christian can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one with the shield of faith. The Roman soldiers often stood in battle against armies that used darts. Sometimes the darts had points that had a certain substance that could be put on fire. To quench these fiery darts the Roman soldiers had shields covered with leather that was made wet to quench the flaming darts. It is clear that without good shields these darts could seriously harm and even kill. Our faith in the Lord God should be strong and be able to withstand even the most dangerous attacks of Satan. We think about the dangerous attacks on our faith by modern, so called scientific arguments and theories. Let me just mention some attacks on the Bible, even by liberal theologians. Some say that much of the Bible is not trustworthy, that the Lord was not really risen from the dead and another claims that God is not a real divine person but an idea that only exists in our thinking and expressed in our speaking. Many a young Christian with real faith lost his faith while studying theology in the university. I have spoken with such young Christians with a seriously harmed faith when I was a teacher in our Bible College.
5. Take the helmet of salvation
The helmet has of course the purpose to protect the head. The head is a most important part of our body in order to function properly. Our head is the place where our consciousness and our spiritual and mental powers have their seat. Many attacks of Satan are directed to these functions. The helmet of salvation stands for the divine healing of our spirit. It is the Spirit of God who by His divine presence in us provides a healing and protection against attacks of the powers of darkness.
The high priest of the old covenant wore a turban and fastened to it on his forehead was a golden plate on which was engraved, “Holy to the LORD,” (Exodus 28:36-38). In this way it was symbolized that the high priest had to be totally dedicated in his consciousness and all his mental faculties to the LORD and his service.
If you become aware of evil or unclean thoughts or fantasies then put them immediately under in the cleansing blood of Jesus and allow His Holy Spirit to replace them with holy thoughts. In this way you repair your damaged helmet of salvation, (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).
6. Use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God
A sword can be used as a defensive and an offensive weapon. In Hebrews 4:12 and 13 the writer explains that the sword of the Spirit is two-edged, a very effective weapon in all directions. The Spirit of God can use the word of God as an instrument of the divine surgeon to separate the wrong from the good in us and to heal and cleanse us inside from malignant and evil intrusions in our being. We should be ready to undergo His operations in our mind and soul and in the very depths of our being. Jesus knew always what people were thinking and what was going on their minds. He was full of the Spirit of God and His word. The prophet Isaiah prophesied about this wonderful capability of the Messiah in chapter 49:2. Now the Spirit of God, in us and with us, assisting us also against satanic attacks, uses the Word of God. I call on you to be obedient to His operations, so that you may be an effective, overcoming soldier for Christ!
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T. J. de Ruiter
Index Spiritual Warfare/Geestelijke Strijd Index Spiritual Warfare / Geestelijke Strijd
The next study 'Destroying Strongholds' Destroying Strongholds
The last study 'Overcoming the Devil' Overcoming the devil
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