The Spiritual War. Destroying strongholds
T. J. de Ruiter, Pastor and Teacher
studies are suitable for
personal- and group study.
We will now have a closer look on an important aspect the Christian warfare, which I touched already briefly, in an earlier study: counteracting and destroying false teachings that try to damage the faith of believers. It seems to me that this aspect of our spiritual warfare doesn't receive sufficient attention, because its importance is not often recognized.
False teachings are often presented under the name of a new vision or revelation, but many of these new visions are often deviating from the sound teaching of the Lord and His apostles and presented as an addition to that. Such teachings hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in churches. Let's be honest about it, there are in these days many so called visions and revelations, through which many believers have lost the right track of faith, (1 Timothy 4:1).
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 that the Christian 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.
2. The war against false teachings
Please read 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 and 2 Corinthians 11:1-4.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 Paul
wrote that 'though we live in the world we are not carrying on a
war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine
destroy strongholds.' These strongholds of satanic teachings are
in arguments and thoughts (ideas or revelations). These misleading
ideas must be uncovered and taken captive. The teachers of these
be made captives of Christ. In 1 Timothy 4:1-3 the apostle Paul wrote
false teachings are inspired by demons, (he uses here the Greek word
'diamonion'). There are rulers and lower spirits in the world of evil
(Ephesians 6:12). For the old Greek demons were divine spiritual
to whom they ascribed a high authority and much power, that they could
over the world of man. Paul foresaw that in later times than he lived
demonic inspired teachings would gain influence on the believers and in
churches. Paul knew that the Holy Spirit expressly told him about this
demonic influence. By false teachings these demons invade the
body of Christ,
causing divisions in the Body of Christ, destroying the necessary
local- national- and the international level. False teachings lead
and whole churches astray from Christ, Who is the Truth.
The apostle counteracted the false teachings in his day with teaching sound doctrine and he encouraged his disciple Timothy to do the same, (1 Timothy 4:11-13). Anybody with spiritual insight knows however that counteracting false teachings must not only take place on the intellectual level, for instance by holding a debate or giving a lecture about it, but that the true and deeper battle is a spiritual matter. On the deeper, spiritual level there has to be going up prayer to the Lord that the eyes of men will be opened and taking an authoritative position in the Name of Jesus over the evil spirits. When people are converted from believing false teachings these demons will lose all power over them. Then these Christians must hold their position with their loins girded by the Truth of God, (Ephesians 6:14).
3. In Closing
We know that before the first apostles had all died that there were already many false teachings in some churches. The influence of demonic inspired teaching has become since then much larger in the church. Demonic spirits have with their false teachings more influence on many Christians than they are aware of. Several demonic spirits are experts in thinking out more and more subtle, powerful teachings in these last days. The faith and life of many is damaged by them, in spiritual, mental, physical and social aspects.
It is now more than ever before necessary to be aware of preachers and teachers that present teachings that they call 'new or special revelations.' Some even dare to claim that their teachings have more authority than the Bibletext, that has been proven to be correct in translation and interpretation of the original text. Be as the Christians in Berea, (Acts 17:11).
Christian, stay alert and hold on to Christ, as presented in the old Holy Scriptures. He is the Truth, the Way and the Life!
4. Questions to think about and for discussion
1. Do you recognize false teachings in operation in your church, or group, or in magazines or books you read? Can you name and specify one or two?
2. Have you been a victim of a false teacher or Christian leader? Would you be prepared to share your experience?
3. Do you perhaps recognize that some you know are fallen into a false teaching? (You do not need to mention their name).
4. What could you do for such people to lead them back into the truth?
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