Spiritual Warfare and How To Win It

Theme: Spiritual Weapons to Win a Battle

Text: Genesis 3:1-7
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they know that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Introductory Remarks:
When an individual receives Jesus Christ and is born again of the Spirit of God, that person instantaneously becomes a new creature in Christ and an adversary of the devil.

Satan does not want to lose his dominion over them so he immediately begins a counter-attack to reclaim that person. At this point spiritual warfare is declared and the believer finds themselves in a life and death struggle against Satan and his demonic forces for his spiritual survival.

"Finally be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist the evil day, and having done everything to stand, stand firm (Ephesians 6: 10-13).

Satan battles to take away from you everything God has given and blessed you with. You are battling to keep it. This study is about the different strategies Satan uses to wreck your spiritual life and if possible to destroy you.

We'll be looking at four persons in the Old Testament that were attacked by Satan and from their experiences we will learn....

  1. The targets Satan aims at in our life.

  2. The weapons Satan uses to attack us.

  3. The purposes Satan wants to achieve.

  4. The defenses God has provided for us.

Strategy of Satan #1
Text: Genesis 3:1-7

 I.   Satan's Target: Your Mind
A. 
When Satan wanted to lead the first man and woman into sin, he started by attacking the woman's mind (See 2 Cor. 11:3 and 1 Tim. 2:13-14).

B.   Why would Satan want to attack your mind?

  1. Because your mind is the part of the image of God where He communicates with you and reveals His will to you.

  2. Because  your thought life according to Proverbs 4:23 controls the rest of your life. "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." "Heart" in the Old Testament deals with your thought life in over 200 of the 800 times "heart" is used. Verse 23 could read, "guard your thought life with all diligence because it will determine how you live."

  3. Because your thought life dominates and shapes your attitude.
    -----Your thought life leads to an  attitude.
    -----Your attitude leads to an  action.
    -----Your action leads to an  achievement.

C.  It's important that we protect our thought life because we can become no bigger, no better, no finer, no more successful than our dominant thoughts. "As a man thinketh in his heart (deeply) believes) so is he" (Prov. 23:7).

  1. What the mind attends to it considers.

  2. What the mind does not attend to it dismisses.

  3. What the mind attends to continually it believes.

  4. What the mind believes it eventually does.

II. Satan's Weapon: Lies
A.  The mind is the battleground where spiritual warfare is won or lost.

  1. Satan realizes that if he can change or influence what you think then he can change or influence how you behave.

  2. Satan tries to influence what you think by the strategy of enticement  and deception.

  3. This is what he did to Eve in the garden. 

BSatan came to Eve as the serpent, the subtle deceiver of the mind.

  1. He cannot touch our wills so he comes against that which influences the will ---our thought life.

  2. A person's thought life so affects the will that they are said to be a product of their thinking. (See Prov. 23:7 again).

  3. Your body may be built by food, but your personality and character are built by thought.

  4. God's nature is to influence our life with truth. Satan's nature is to influence our life with lies.

C. Notice the steps Satan took in getting Eve to believe his lie.

  1. He questioned God's Word, "indeed has God said...."

  2. He denied God's Word, "you shall not surely die..."  

  3. He substituted his own word, "you will be like god...."

D.  How did Eve respond to Satan's approach? She responded by making three mistakes that led her into sin.

  1. She took away from God's Word. (In verse 2 she omitted the word "freely").

  2. She added to God's Word. (We do not find the words "or touch it" in God's original command).

  3. She changed God's Word. (God did not say "lest you die". He had said you shall "surely die").

III. Satan's purpose: To Make You Ignorant of God's Will.

A.  Why did Satan attack the Word God had spoken to Adam and Eve and try to change it?

  1. Because God wanted Adam and Eve to know His will and God's Word reveals God's will.

  2. Apart from the Word of God we have no understanding of the will of God.

  3. If Satan can get the mind to question the Word of God then that person will never discover God's will.

IV. Your Defense: The inspired Word of God

A.  John 8:32, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

  1. Only the inspired Word of God can reveal and defeat the devil's lies.

  2. Jesus used the Word of God to defeat Satan's attack on the Mount of Temptation (Matt. 4:1-11).

B.  If we are to win the battle of the mind we must

  1. Love God's Word

  2. Know God's Word

  3. Memorize God's Word

  4. Meditate on God's Word

  5. Believe God's Word

  6. Use God's Word

  7. Do God's Word

C.  If we follow these 7 steps, we will be able to "Cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every though to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).

Strategy of Satan #2
Text: Job Chapters 1 and 2

I.  Satan's Target: Your Body

A.  If Satan cannot defeat you by deceiving your mind, then he will try to destroy your body.

  1. As the serpent he deceives.

  2. As the lion he devours.

B.  Why does Satan attack our bodies?

  1. Because your body is God's temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

  2. Because your body is God's tool (Romans 6: 12-13).

  3. Because your body is God's treasury (2 Cor. 4:7)

II. Satan's Weapon: Suffering

A.  Satan wants to control the circumstances around the body so that the believer will suffer.

  1. He wants to touch the body and create suffering.

  2. All of this is illustrated in the story of Job.

  3. In the story of Job it is important that we remember that God was always in control.

B.  Not all suffering is satanic in origin.

  1. Sometimes we suffer because we are human and we often do things that result in suffering.

  2. Sometimes we suffer because we disobey God.

  3. But there is a suffering that is Satan's weapon and that is what Job experienced.

C.  When you find yourself in difficult situations, seek to discern through the Word of God and prayer whether your suffering is from Satan.

III. Satan's Purpose: To Make You Question God's Care

A.  In Satan's attack on Job - Job's faith and trust in God was put to the test. Would his faith crumble because of suffering or would he have the patience to endure the test and continue to serve God in spite of it.

  1. The only place where Job is mentioned in the New Testament is James 5:11, "You have heard of the patience of Job...."

  2. This verse indicates that Satan's purpose was to try to get Job to be impatient in continuing to trust God in his suffering and give-up.

  3. Satan thought he had Job figured out, but he didn't know Job like God did. Satan thought Job didn't have the patience to endure the storm of suffering. God knew Job did, so He allowed the test.

B.  Patience is an important Christian virtue when we're waiting on an answer from God in the midst of a time of trouble in our life.

  1. Unless we have patience to endure and to last the storms of life, we'll never learn the lessons that God intends those storms to teach us.

  2. Satan knows that if he can make us impatient he can lead us to do something stupid and get ourselves and others into trouble.

IV.  Your Defense: The Imparted Grace of God

A.  Job is not the only saint who felt the attack against his body. The great Apostle Paul had a similar experience.

  1. See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

  2. God's grace is God's provision for our every need.

B.  What steps should you take when Satan attacks your body with suffering and tries to make you impatient in waiting for God's solution to the problem?

  1. Immediately submit yourself to God.

  2. Continue to give God worship, praise and thanks every day  in spite of the problem you are suffering.

  3. If you have invited God into the situation in prayer - believe He'll work it out to your good in the end (Romans 8:28).

  4. Spend much time in the Word of God.
    --Don't whine or complain.
    --Don't fall into the not fair "trap."
    --Don't surrender to the problem.
    --Speak the Word of God into the situation.
    --Give God opportunity to work His power and provision into it.

Satan's Strategy #3
Text: 1 Chronicles 21:2,7,8, 14-19

I. Satan's Target: Your Will

A.  Satan's' goal is always to get to the will and control it. This is what he attacked in David's life.

B.  There are four wills that struggle for man's obedience.

  1. Man's own will (Rom 12:1-2).

  2. Other men's will (1 Peter 4:2).

  3. Satan's will (John 8:44).

  4. God's will (Eph. 5:15-17

C.  The Christian life is basically a matter of the will. We are to love the Lord with all our heart (the emotions), and our mind (the intellect) and our strength (the will).

  1. The Holy Spirit wants to instruct the mind through the Word of God, inspire the heart with holy emotions and strengthen the will to do the will of God.

  2. Your will is important because your will helps to determine your character.

  3. Decisions mold character and decisions chart the direction of your life.

D.  Satan's original sin was a sin of the will

  1. Five times in Isaiah 14: 12-14, Satan says, I will.

  2. Satan seeks to duplicate this in our life.

II. Satan's Weapon: Pride

A.  David  was feeling important when Satan approached him with the suggestion to number the people.

  1. In this act David was manifesting the "I will" mindset that Satan had manifested in Isaiah 14.

  2. God usually was the one who authorized the numbering of the people, but David took it upon himself to do it in spite of Joab's warning. There was no occasion to number them

  3. God had promised to multiply them. It appeared that David wanted to number them to see if God was keeping His Word.

  4. It's worth noting that David's sin of numbering the people resulted in 70,000 people dying. David's sin of adultery led to the death of 4 people.

B.  What was wrong with David numbering the people?

  1. When David numbered the people he did it for his own glory and not for the glory of God.

  2. God did not initiate it and if God doesn't initiate something, He's not into it.

C.  It was pride that motivated David's actions. Satan influenced David's will by inflating his ego.

  1. Ego is edging God out.

  2. To some degree pride enters into all of Satan's temptations.

III. Satan's Purpose: To Make You Act Independent of God's Will

A.  Man is a dependent creature. He must depend on God (for in Him we live and move and have our being) and on his fellow man to stay alive.

  1. The essence of sin is to seek to be independent of God.

  2. Whenever you and I act in direct disobedience we are displaying  pride and independence.

  3. One of the most important lessons that the believer must learn is that he cannot be independent of God.

IV. Your Defense: The Indwelling Spirit of God

A.  Pride is such a strong weapon and Satan is such a strong adversary that only a stronger power can give us the victory. That power comes from the Holy Spirit  of God.

  1. Read Philippians 2: 12-13

  2. To work out your own salvation means to bring your Christian life to completion, to accomplish in character and conduct what God has planned for you.

B.  God has a definite plan for each life, and we must cooperate with Him in fulfilling that plan. According to Ephesians 2: 8-10 there are three works involved in the Christian life.

  1. The first work is salvation. This is the work God does for us.

  2. The second work is sanctification. This is the work God does in us.

  3. The third work is service. This is the work God does through us.

  4. God works in us that He might work through us and accomplish the task that He has already prepared for us.

C.  How does God work in us? Through the Holy Spirit.

  1. What must we do to enable the Spirit of God to work in us? The answer to that question is found in Romans 12: 1-2.

  2. The Holy Spirit can work in your life when your body, mind and will are yielded to Him.

  3. If you yield these three areas of your life daily to the Spirit of God, then the Spirit will empower you to defeat the devil.

  4. In the battle against Satan the only way to conquer is to surrender to God.

D.  When God's Spirit is at work, He produces humility not pride. The person who  is truly humble has these characteristics: James 4:10, "Humble yourself in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you."

  1. He know himself.

  2. He accepts himself.

  3. He yields himself.

  4. He seeks to better himself that he might serve God better.

Strategy of Satan #4

I.  Satan's Target: Your Heart and Conscience

A.  The prophet Zechariah was given a vision at a time when the nation of Israel had sinned against the Lord. The scene of the vision takes place in heaven.

  1. The scene Zechariah saw was that of a courtroom. God was the Judge. Joshua (not the Joshua with Moses) the High Priest is the defendant and Satan is the prosecuting attorney.

  2. Satan appears to have a case against Joshua because he appears to be wearing filthy garments while ministering and the High Priest was always to wear clean clothes.

B.  Joshua represents the people before God and the people were sinful. This explains why Joshua's priestly garments were dirty. His condition was Israel's condition.

  1. A High Priest identified himself with the people he represented.

  2. Satan knew Israel was sinful and he protested to God that Israel and Joshua be judged. You can imagine Satan's arguments.

  3. How do you think Joshua felt during all the trial? Certainly his heart was broken and his conscience was smitten.

C.  When you and I disobey God we feel guilty. Guilt is an emotion that occurs when we receive a message of disapproval from the conscience that says, "You've done wrong. You should be ashamed of yourself."

  1. Satan uses this guilt to condemn us to judgment. He attacks us in our heart and conscience.

  2. See how subtle and merciless Satan really is;
    --Before we sin, he shouts at us, "You can get away with this."
    --After we sin, he shouts at us, "You'll never get away with this."

  3. God uses our guilt to convict us in our conscience to repentance.

II. Satan's Weapon: Accusation

A.  It's important that we learn the difference between Satan's accusation (condemnation) and the Holy Spirit's conviction.

  1. When the Holy Spirit convicts you, he uses the Word of God in love and seeks to bring you back into fellowship with your Heavenly Father.

  2. When Satan accuses you, he uses your own sins to make you feel hopelessly separated from God.

B.  The difference between Holy Spirit conviction and satanic accusation.

  1. Holy Spirit conviction moves you toward God. Satanic accusation moves you away from God.

  2. Holy Spirit conviction leads to confession. Satanic accusation leads to condemnation.

  3. Holy Spirit conviction produces repentance. Satanic accusation produces regret and remorse.

  4. Holy Spirit conviction focuses on the mercy of God. Satanic accusation focuses on judgment of God.

III. Satan's Purpose: To Keep You Focused on the Penalty and Not the Pardon for Sin

A.  Satan wants you to feel guilty, helpless and hopeless. He wants you to experience  regret and remorse, but not repentance..

  1. He wants to keep accusing you so that you focus your attention on yourself and your sins.

  2. He knows that once you look away by faith to Jesus Christ, you will repent, confess your sins and find cleansing and restored fellowship.

B. True conviction of the Spirit will always move you closer to God.

  1. It's a sign that God's grace and love is at work in your life.

Your Defense: The Interceding Son of God

A.  It is true that Satan stands at our right hand to resist us and accuse us. But it's also true that Jesus Christ stands at God's right hand to intercede for us.

  1. See Hebrews 7:25 and Luke 22:31-32.

  2. If we yield to sin, Jesus ministers as our advocate to forgive and to restore us to fellowship once again.

  3. If by faith we turn to Him and come to the throne of grace, He will see us through to victory.

C.  Notice the stages of the experience of Joshua the High Priest.

  1. First there is Satan's resistance. The accuser names Joshua's sins at the throne and calls for a Holy God to judge Joshua.

  2. Second is God's rebuke of Satan. God's rebuke is based on God's grace toward His people.

  3. Third is Joshua's restoration. God ordered them to remove the filthy clothes and put holy garments on the High Priest.

D. Resistance - rebuke - restoration; these are the stages in the experience of confessing sin and returning to fellowship with Father.

  1. Satan will accuse you, but do not listen. Turn to Jesus Christ your advocate and confess your sins to Him.

  2. Depend on what God's Word says and not on how you feel.

  3. Unconfessed sin in our life is a foothold for Satan.

  4. Proverbs 28:13, "He who conceals his transgression will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion."

 

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