Supernatural: Spiritual Warfare
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3 (ESV)
A new soldier was on sentry duty at the main gate. His orders were clear. No car was to enter unless it had a special sticker on the windshield. A big Army car came up with a general seated in the back. The sentry said, “Halt, who goes there?” The chauffeur, a corporal, said, “General Wheeler.” “I’m sorry, I can’t let you through. You’ve got to have a sticker on the windshield” said the sentry. The general said, “Drive on!” The sentry said, “Hold it! You really can’t come through. I have orders to shoot if you try driving in without a sticker.” The general repeated, “I’m telling you, son, drive on!” The sentry walked up to the rear window and said, “General, I’m new at this. Do I shoot you or the driver?”
Sometimes, the trick in times of war is knowing who to shoot. In the sermon, Pastor Jim introduced our new series on spiritual warfare. The Apostle Paul wanted us to know who we are “shooting.” Paul writes, “though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.” Our biggest enemies as believers are not physical; they are spiritual. Paul was familiar with the Roman soldiers and thus Paul knew the Roman army well and knew how to accurately use a military metaphor.
We do well as believers to remember that just as accurate knowledge is crucial to survival in real warfare, a similar mindset is just as important in the unseen warfare of the spiritual realm. Can you recall a time when you felt like you were facing spiritual warfare? Do you feel like you were prepared to fight? This week we will review some of the principles we learned in the sermon in order to be better prepared for the battle.
King David taught us in 1 Samuel 17:47 that the battle belongs to the Lord. Praise God for owning the battle against spiritual warfare and promising us victory in the end.
Spiritual Warfare: A Humble Plea
“I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away! I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.” – 2 Corinthians 10:1-2 (ESV)
During World War II, a young teenager tried to enlist in the Navy. Only fifteen but large for his years, he told the recruiting officer in Richmond, Virginia that he was sixteen. The officer looked at him and shook his head. “Sorry, son, you’re not old enough.” Two months later, he returned. The recruiter didn’t seem to remember him, so this time he listed his age as seventeen. Again the answer was, “Sorry, you’re not old enough.” He waited a few weeks and returned again. This time, in reply to the recruiter’s question, he said he was eighteen. The man looked at the teenager and smiled. “Young man,” he said, “we would really like to have you in our Navy. The only trouble is, you’re aging so fast that I’m afraid we’d have to put you on pension before the war was over.”
In 1 Corinthians 10:1-2, the Apostle Paul is begging us to recognize the reality of our spiritual battle and begging us to enlist in the fight. We must learn to recognize how the dark systems of the devil work. But more than that, we must learn the processes of overcoming the systems of the devil, not by flesh and blood but in the spiritual realm. Paul calls on the “meekness and gentleness of Christ.” Our Second Family shares this loving burden to see us experience victory in the spiritual realm of life.
Who has challenged you spiritually with humility and gentleness? Who have you been so burdened for that you went to them and humbly pleaded with them to submit to God’s plan for their life?
Thank God for the people He has sent into your life to lovingly tell you the truth. Pray God would give you a gentle and humble heart that is burdened for those around you.
Spiritual Warfare: Spiritual Weapons
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10: 4 (ESV)
A soldier in the heat of battle had his gun jam on him. The enemy was charging straight for him, and he was defenseless, desperate! For some unknown reason he pointed his finger at the man and said “Bangedy bang” and the guy fell down dead. He looked at his hand and thought, “Wow!” Another man charged him and again, bangedy bang, dead. He couldn’t believe this could be! Then a whole group turned toward him. He just pretended he had a bazooka and said, “Boomedy boom.” They all collapsed. He was ecstatic!
Another soldier just slowly strolled toward him. “Bangedy bang!” No result…he just kept coming. “Boomedy boom!” No change. They guy calmly and smoothly kept coming toward him, and it was obvious he was saying something. He couldn’t make it out until he got right up on him. He rolled right over him saying, “Tankety tank, tankety tank!” (Jerry Shirley)
Pastor Jim reminded us in the sermon that spiritual wars can only be won with spiritual weapons.
In Ephesians 6, Paul listed some of the spiritual weapons we need to use: the belt of truth (Ep 6:14), the breastplate of righteousness (Ep 6:14), the shoes of the Gospel (Ep 6:15), the shield of faith (Ep 6:16), the helmet of salvation (Ep 6:17), and the sword of the Spirit (Ep 6:17). To rely on these weapons requires faith in God. But truly, these weapons are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds!
Which of the weapons listed in Ephesians 6 do you think you need to learn to use more often?
Thank God for giving us the weapons we need to win our spiritual battles.
Spiritual Warfare: Divine Power
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” – 2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV)
Phil Newton wrote: “When Hitler invaded Poland in 1938 with his Wehrmacht and their steel-armored tanks, they were met by the only existing horse cavalry in Europe. The Polish army stood bravely before the tanks but was no match for them. Germany soon conquered. They didn’t have the necessary power for the battle.”
The good news of 2 Corinthians 10 is that our spiritual weapons have divine power. Anything God can do, our spiritual weapons can do. King David was facing the giant Goliath and said, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands…that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’s and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Sam 17:45-47)
Martin Luther described our divinely powerful weapons this way: “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.” Where in your life do you most need God’s mighty power to work?
List some ways we see God’s divine power in creation. Praise Him for His power.
Spiritual Warfare: Destroying Strongholds
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” -2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV)
Did you know part of the United States was occupied by the enemy during World War II? Some of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands were held by Japanese troops. To supply the war effort, the United States government hastily built the Alaska Highway through the Canadian Rockies. Some years after the war ended, the Alcan Highway opened to the public. Little had changed along its 1,523 miles of dirt, mud, and treacherous snaking curves through the mountains. Shortly after being opened to the public, someone posted the following sign: “Choose your rut carefully. You will be in it for the next 1500 miles.” (Thomas Cash)
Some of us have been stuck in sinful ruts for years. When Paul talks about “strongholds” in 2 Corinthians 10, he has us in mind. The word “strongholds” was used in secular Greek to describe a strong military installation, a bastion, or a fortified place. And God has the power to destroy any stronghold.
Tony Evans explains that Paul says our spiritual weapons can destroy Satan’s fortresses. Weapons such as prayer, reading the Word, obedience, meditation on Scripture, fasting, and service can blow up the devil’s strongholds. And that is what we must do. These fortresses do not need to be remodeled. God does not tell us to capture them, change the locks, and use them for Him. Satan’s fortresses must be torn down. (The Battle is the Lord’s: Waging Victorious Spiritual Warfare)
Do you have any strongholds in your life? Ask God to destroy them. Do you have people in your life with strongholds? Ask God to destroy those strongholds. Ask God to use Second Baptist to destroy strongholds in our community.
Praise God for destroying the strongholds in your past. Praise Him for the promise to destroy any strongholds you may face in the future.