Battalion: Commitment & Courage If you have a computer you merely need to type in “Spiritual warfare” in Google and you will receive an avalanche of information. Everyone seems to know so much about it, and Eph. ch. 6 will always be a favourite among sunday school teachers. The wonderful inspired idea to dress up a child as a soldier of Christ must be about the most popular kids talk ever. Though whether the teacher understands it isn't always certain and the fact that the kids have no idea what it all means is equally irrelevant. The only spiritual battle which most people know about is the battle inside them between the flesh and the Spirit. This is typified in scripture by the one sided "war" between Saul and David. Saul sought to kill David, the Lord's anointed. David had no desire to usurp Saul and would not reign until Saul committed suicide. Almost every incident in the life of David stands as a parable of some work of the Holy Spirit. Our notes on 1 Samuel explain this more fully. Other types of the spiritual war (Gal. 5:17) are seen in Isaac & Ishmael, Jacob and Esau and Cain and Abel. We the church are the real thing, all these stories and people in the Old Testament are but shadows of the real thing. Understanding the Parables, (typology) Patterns and Principles in scripture is key to unlocking its secrets. The biggest clue is to look for Christ and his body. There has been a battle going on since Satan was thrown out of Heaven for seeking God's glory. He still seeks by destroying anything that glorifies God. Faith glorifies God. Faith is the very life of the Father in His children. The devil seeks to kill it. "At the end of the day", "when all is said and done" (though much more is said than done) what matters is whether we are still standing in Faith. Fight the good fight of Faith. This is the victory that overcomes the world- even our Faith. Victory is not casting out devils, healing the sick, praying and seeing miracles, having a supernatural experience enough to write a book about it. Victory is to die believing. In every battle some people die, not everyone returns from the front line. Not everyone who is earnestly prayed for and for whom faith is proclaimed is delivered. Some don't see the answer to their faith, yet afterwards they still continue to believe- even stronger in some cases. (Read the end of Hebrew ch 11.) Job classically said. "Though he slay me - yet will I trust Him." He was determined to die believing. "Not to the strong is the battle, Not to the swift is the race But to the true and the faithful, Victory is promised through grace."
I am just going to quote a passage or two off the aforementioned Google from someone who obviously sees things in the same way as myself. (You will no doubt recognise a great improvement in writing style from what is seen previously) Quote: "The great question is not, “Who will win?,” but “Who will stand?” The question is not whether God is on our side as much as whether we are on Hi side" (1) Our victory over Satan’s attacks is not always evident in terms of his defeat and our success, but is sometimes won in what looks like our defeat and his success. When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, it looked very much like he had won. But in our Lord’s apparent defeat (and Satan’s apparent victory) the Saviour brought about our salvation and Satan’s defeat. So it will be for some saints. The Book of Revelation informs us that there will be a time when Satan and his subordinates will appear to triumph over the saints, but this should be viewed as a momentary defeat which accomplishes the purposes of God, and which serves as a prelude to Satan’s final destruction: 9 And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also (Revelation 6:9-11). (2) Satan’s opposition is not to be found so much in the bizarre and the supernatural as it is in that which seems natural and even human. You will notice that the subject of demonization is not raised in our text. Neither is any emphasis given here to lying wonders and signs, although these are a part of Satan’s arsenal of weapons. Satan tempted Adam and Eve to doubt God’s goodness and to disobey His Word. His opposition to Job was evident in the form of natural disaster and human illness. The same appears to be the case with his affliction of Paul (see 2 Corinthians 12:7). His temptation of David seems to be in terms of an appeal to his pride (1 Chronicles 21:1). So, too, his temptation of our Lord was an appeal to what we would think of as natural ambitions and desires (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). (3) Satan’s opposition to the believer is seldom direct, and is most often through other means, which we might not recognize as being satanically inspired. In very few instances does Satan directly involve himself in his attack against men. He did directly tempt our Lord, but this is certainly the exception. Usually, he prefers to “speak” through other instruments, so that we don’t recognize that it is he who is opposing us. He spoke through a serpent in the garden of Eden, and he spoke through Peter when he resisted Christ’s plan to die on the cross (Matthew 16:23). More often, Satan employs his demons to do his bidding (see 2 Corinthians 12:7). We are all familiar with these three forces, all of which are hostile to the believer: the world, the flesh, and the devil. I would like to suggest that Satan most often employs the world and the flesh to attack the believer. And so it is that Satan is sometimes identified as the ultimate culprit, when it would appear that the world or the flesh were the source of one’s temptation. Who would have seen Satan behind David’s numbering of the Israelites (1 Chronicles 21:1)? Who would have imagined that Judas’ temptation arose from anything other than his own greed? Who would have thought that the deception of Ananias and Sapphira was motivated by anything more than their own greed and desire for man’s praise? When the Scriptures inform us that Satan is behind a particular temptation, it is because the forces seem so natural we would not have expected any deeper, more sinister, source. Satan is more than willing to accept men’s adoration and obedience indirectly. If we become his servants by serving our own interests and seeking the satisfaction of our fleshly desires, Satan gladly accepts our indirect submission to him. In fact, I think he even delights in it, because he is the great deceiver. How he must find pleasure in letting men think they are free, when they are really his slaves! It does not seem advisable to give Satan credit for every evil deed, or to blame him for every instance of opposition, difficulty, or temptation. Job did not know that Satan was behind the tragedies which came into his life. It does not seem that he needed to know. What he needed to know was that an all-wise, all-powerful God was in control of the universe, and of his life. What Job needed to do more than to “bind Satan” was to believe and obey God. Satan’s fingerprints may often be found on much of the evil and suffering which takes place in this world, but some of the evil comes from our own flesh (James 1:13-15), and from living in a sinful and fallen world (Romans 8:18-25). (4) Satan’s opposition is the outworking of his own rebellion and distorted perception. To put it simply, Satan’s opposition is guided by his own warped perception of reality. He cannot believe that anyone would worship God on the basis of Who He is, rather than on the basis of what He gives. Satan cannot think of God as our Reward, but only as the Rewarder of those who do His bidding. And so it is that Satan sought to afflict Job, thinking that his submission and obedience would immediately cease. Satan tempts those in power by appealing to their pride and ambition, because that is the way he responded to his position of power. He appeals to those under authority to act independently, rather than to submit to those over them. He appeals to self-interest and he urges us to shun self-sacrifice. He knows nothing of grace, and he delights in the downfall of others. Satan’s perception is warped. He is not all-knowing, nor is he all-powerful. He operates on the basis of his own distorted perception of reality. Sinful men easily and readily identify with his mindset and motivation, but Christians must reject it for the evil it is. And when Christians act like their Master, Satan is mystified and angered. He cannot fathom why anyone would submit to God and worship him. (5) Satan is a defeated foe, but his complete demise is yet future. We have already alluded to Satan’s defeat at the cross of Calvary. Nevertheless, we shall say it once again. Satan’s demise is certain. (6) Satan’s present opposition to the people and purposes of God appears to be detrimental to the church, but in reality Satan is actually furthering God’s purpose and plan for creation. God has purposed to delay casting Satan into the lake of fire because in his freedom to operate as the “god of this world” he is unwittingly fulfilling God’s purposes. He is thus bringing glory to God and producing that which God uses for our good. While Satan inspired Judas to betray our Lord, this was necessary to accomplish our salvation. And although Satan’s messenger may have afflicted Paul with a thorn in the flesh, this was for Paul’s good (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Satan is always on a chain, God’s chain. While he carries on his work with evil intent, God uses him for our good, and for His glory. There is not one thing which Satan is allowed to do which does not promote God’s purposes, His glory, and our good. The outcome of the spiritual war between Satan and God is certain. The struggle is a part of God’s eternal plan. And standing against his attacks in the strength of the full armour of God is our duty. Men must be armed with God’s power to be able to stand against spiritual warfare. God’s men stand firm in spiritual warfare against all immorality, deceit, and disobedience, armed with God’s power." (end of quote from the Web)
.......and to all that, with thanks to Google, I trust we will all say Amen and walk in the light thereof.
Extra notes; Eph 6 10-13. Flesh and Blood... A call to arms. The Devil is opposed to God, he seeks to destroy His work; we are prime targets. The word “against” appears six times in this passage. To be for God is to be against the devil. Is there a personal devil? John 8 36-44 The popular cartoon of the Devil with a pitchfork tipping people into hell is not very scriptural Some say he is just an influence and not a person, but scripture gives him many names which display his personality; Satan, Deceiver, Liar, Murderer, Accuser, Tempter, Prince. Here's another poem: “Men don’t believe in the devil now, as their fathers used to do They reject one creed because its old for another because its new But who dogs the steps of the toiling saint, who spreads the net for his feet? Who sows the tares in the worlds broad fields where the Saviour sows his wheat? They may say that the devil has never lived, they may say the devil has gone But what my simple mind would like to know- who carries his business on.” Matt 4 1-11 Personally we can say that temptation is all the evidence we need of a personal devil. Liberal thinkers who reject the Bible truths, say Jesus was just battling with the dark thoughts within him. If the bible is not the word of God why did the devil use it?
Where did he come from? Isaiah 14 9-15. Ezekiel 28 11-19. “I will make myself like the most high.” Jesus said; Luke 10:18. I saw the Satan fall from heaven, “perfect in beauty and wisdom? V 12 Perfect in all you did... v 15, High office v 14-16 “I WILL” make myself like the most high. Satan, obsessed with the glory God gave him became a glory seeker and a usurper. Basically the whole of creation and the history of the world revolves around Satan’s battle for ultimate glory.
Satan’s forces Jude 1-13; Jude 1:6; And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. How many? Apparently there are a colossal number. There were thousands in Legion the demoniac. Jesus could have called 12,000 angels. These are the minions we are battling against, not flesh and blood. Last days, evidence of intensity of activity is prophesied. 1 Tim 4: 1-6. Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. There is much interest in the occult, exorcism, omens, paranormal. His influence is obvious in much music, art, entertainment, drugs, and such like. Massacres, murders, atrocities are reported every day . The Devil on the march, but he strides towards an inevitable end. Revelation 20:10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
In the church? The Devil targets God’s people and through them God’s work; We should take heed that he doesn’t work through us. We are commanded to be humble, submissive to each other, serving each other. In our “service” for God within the church, let us be wary of false motives in our service 1 Peter 5:1-11 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Rom 12:3-4 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
Subtle temptations: 1. Personal recognition and self satisfaction within the local church 2. Church recognition within the denominations, 3. Contamination with outside world through compromising the message and our behaviour in thinking we are making it more acceptable.
There is so much more one could comment on in this wonderful epistle, which deals with almost every aspect of the christian walk. Even advice concerning family life, working life, social life, which all have a bearing and influence on our spiritual life