My key verse:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NKJV
The conflict we face
I feel that we underestimate just how much our life is influenced by the spiritual world. We don’t take it as seriously as we should; especially when you consider how seriously we take making changes to the things that directly influence us, for example: eating healthier, exercising, cutting bad habits, and removing bad people out of our life. Honestly, it boggles my mind that we don’t pay close enough attention to how the spiritual world continually influences us and the world in which we live. We laugh or mock those that say that they “hear voices”, but I stand here to tell you today that is not a laughing matter. Spiritual warfare is a very real thing; it encircles us and is always constantly influencing every man, woman, boy, and girl. I don’t think I explain myself clearly enough when it comes to talking about the physical and spiritual worlds, so I want to spend a moment to do a breakdown of both.
We live on a plane of existence which is made up of physical matter; matter that we can both hold and see. Because we live on this physical plane of existence, we are able to interact with all matter that exists within this same plane. Scientist believe there is a form of matter that is not visible to us and they call that form of matter “dark” matter. We live in a plane of existence in which it is theorized that there are 3 dimensions – length, height, and breadth. Some argue that there is a fourth dimension, but I am not smart enough to tackle that subject within this sermon. Honestly, it all fascinates me because it shows just how little we know about our own plane of existence, even though mankind has been in existence for quite some time now.
The Lord indicates to us that there is another plane of existence and that plane is the spiritual plane. The spiritual plane of existence is home to God, angelic beings, the devil, and his demons. We cannot see this plane of existence, but those within this plane can interact with us and even see us. What this means is that we cannot influence those within that plane, but they are more than capable of influencing the physical plane – we see this quite clearly in scripture. What is also shown rather clearly in scripture is that there is an ongoing spiritual war in the spiritual plane which also has an effect on the physical plane.
In the spiritual plane, there is a war being waged by the devil against God. The devil has been waging war since before his fall (Revelation 12:7-9). Mankind is caught up in the middle of this battle of the two sides. The Lord sees us as His children and made His intentions towards mankind very clear by sending His only begotten Son to this world. During the month of December, I spent each Sunday preaching about the conception of Christ, you should give those sermons a read.
The devil, on the other hand, sees us as his pawns on the battlefield. I am not a chess player but, from what I do understand, the pawn is the weakest piece on the board. To the devil, we should be lorded over by a “better god” and that is him. I want you to also pay close attention to the fact that the devil has never told man his true intentions. Notice, again, that the devil has never told man that he loves them. The reasoning for that is quite simple: he doesn’t care about mankind and he is incapable of love – it’s not in his heart.
To Lord over us, we see that throughout our history that the devil has done the most to keep mankind down in sin. Remember: mankind fell in the garden when Adam sinned through the deceiving of Eve by the devil. Satan knows that the Lord absolutely detests sin, wants man to become righteous, but Satan rather we continue to live wickedly and sinfully in this world. Why? Because Satan knows that the Lord will have nothing to do with sin and that we will be cast away from God. To this day, through his influence, Satan still deceives mankind into wickedness (sin) through wiles such as pride and greed. Greed is another subject that I have preached about recently, that you may want to check out.
The devil will go as far as to corrupt your mind with doubt and tries to block us from the Lord! In Daniel 10, we see how the devil had one of his princes to withstand the angel of God for 21 days from delivering an important message to Daniel. Satan will try to block your prayer and even try to block the Lord’s answer to your prayer. Here is why we must always be steadfast in our faith because as soon as we show signs of wavering, the devil sees an opening and will move in. Have you ever thought to yourself, “my blessings are being blocked”? You see, some folks say these things out of rhetoric, but scripture shows us that there are things happening spiritually.
We are like sheep grazing in an open field when it comes to this spiritual warfare. We need a protector, a good shepherd, who will watch over us and keep us from all kinds of danger because we are defenseless against these spiritual powers. Many of us find ourselves under the watchful eye and care of our Savior because He, the Lord, is our shepherd. However, there are many, unfortunately, who choose not to be under the Lord’s care and protection.
Due to this decision, they leave themselves (their soul) spiritually open to Satan’s attack; they are open to the wiles of the devil, his demons, and they end up being completely taken over in their soul. The sad part is that we have the ability to help them out, but there is very little help coming from Christians today. Sadly enough, when the help is offered, it tends to be ignored. There are many people who don’t even realize that they are living and walking in the way of the devil (wickedness). They are sinful and wicked in their heart, just like the devil, and do not even realize it. We must not be lost to that devil; we must not be lost in this war that he wages against God.
How do we fight back?
That is the question. There is a big battle going on all around us so how do we fight back? What can we do to protect ourselves or even fight back?
Some feel that they can fight the wickedness in this world (influenced spiritually) with the weapons of this world. Time and time again we see very terrible events and we charge it to their mental capabilities or the lack thereof. We never question their soul or ask what could have happened to them spiritually that would lead them to do such terrible things. I truly believe the scripture that says a good man acts out of the good treasure stored in his heart, and an evil man acts out of the evil treasure stored in his heart.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen some supposedly spiritually minded people saying some absolutely mind-boggling things. The Executive VP of the NRA said in a speech this week that the second amendment (the right to bear arms) was granted by God, by birthright, to all Americans. I then saw another story, out of Pennsylvania, where a church is going to hold a “blessing ceremony” for AR-15s.
Frankly, we are in a battle that I don’t believe a gun can help us win. Is this how we, believers, ought to think and to behave? Is this how we combat spiritual wickedness? Can a pistol help us defeat spiritual wickedness? Can a shotgun help us defeat spiritual wickedness? Can a nuclear bomb help us to defeat spiritual wickedness? We may certainly kill somebody but that evil spirit of wickedness will still be in the world.
Again, first and foremost: the physical cannot interact with the spiritual so there is no way that a physical weapon can combat spiritual wickedness. Paul says (2 Corinthians 10:3) “we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh”. This scripture, we can see, is very similar to what Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10 when he says, “we do not wrestle against the flesh”. The problem is that we spend so much time standing opposite to this idea, even as believers. We are turning to the wrong weapon to combat our enemy!
Let’s recall this incident when Jesus was being arrested near the Garden of Gethsemane:
51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Matthew 26:51-52 NKJV
Peter drew his weapon because Peter’s heart was being influenced by the world that he could not recognize what was taking place spiritually. Jesus, who lived in the world but was not influenced by the world, told Peter to put his weapon away. I want to say that this is where Jesus stood on the idea of bearing arms. We even see Jesus tell Peter that one who lives by the sword would perish by the sword.
Spiritually, the devil had made his move in having the Son of God arrested so there was absolutely nothing that Peter would have been able to do physically to stop Satan. Jesus, you will notice, stood in His peace, even in the day that He was betrayed and arrested! We, believers, must be beholden to our way and that way is a way of peace!
We do not really believe in practicing such a way. Where Jesus tells us (Matthew 5:39) not to resist one who strikes us on the cheek but to turn the other cheek; we hold to the eye for an eye lesson. Where Jesus tells us to love our enemy, to pray for them, we choose to do the complete opposite. You see, we end up fighting the real battle on Satan’s terms instead of fighting the battle with our weapon!
The weapon of a Christian
A Christian’s weapon is God! A Christian’s weapon is the way of God! Sadly, we have become too addicted to this world and to the way of this world. Instead of being beholden to the way of Christ, we have become beholden to the way of the world. Solomon warned in walking in the way of the world; Solomon said:
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood.
Proverbs 1:15-16 NKJV
When we become addicted to the world we are going to now be influenced by the world and the spiritual influencers of the worldly way – that’s Satan. Instead of now depending on the Lord, we have become dependent on a creature that does not think highly of us nor loves us.
We end up trying to fight a fight without the Lord, using the weapons of Satan and all this manages to do is cause the devil to rejoice. The devil is forever happy in a day when he can get the believer to fight on his terms and with his tools. We are supposed to be better than that, but unfortunately, we have stooped to his low.
I believe the devil is doing a lot of rejoicing nowadays. Not because he is “winning” but because he is becoming “god” over more and more fallen souls. The Christian cannot expect to wield the weapon of the world and defeat spiritual wickedness. For us to defeat spiritual wickedness, we must wield our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Again, I say to you today, God is our everything!
Paul tells us (2 Corinthians 10:4) that our weapon is not carnal, which means physical, but our weapon is mighty through God. God has armed us in His way which is a way of peace through faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). To combat the evil spirit in the spiritual plane, we can combat it through faith, hope, and love.
If you have become addicted to this world, you may believe it is impossible to defeat spiritual wickedness with these weapons but I tell you that there is nothing impossible for my God! We underestimate the power of God – probably explains the predicament of our country and our world today.
Prayer helps us directly communicate with the Lord in the spiritual plane. Our faith and hope help to sustain us against all the wiles of the devil and the wicked hosts of the spiritual. Our love is the love of God which is mightier than all things. This is how we conquer the spiritual wickedness that is in the world today.
The writer of Hebrews said this:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
Do not underestimate God nor the weapons He has armed you with as a follower in His way. Be about these weapons first! Be beholden to a way of peace.