The Spiritual Battle (Pt.1)
The Spiritual Battle (Pt.3)

The Spiritual Battle (Pt.2)

Sword RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

1. Be Awake!

One of the phrases Jesus used regularly was “Watch out ...” which means to be alert, awake and on guard at all times (Matt.26:41). Paul and Peter pick up this teaching of Jesus in their letters to Christians (Eph.6:10-18. 1 Peter 5:8-9).

When it comes to the spiritual battle we are in, we need to avoid the extremes of pre-occupation with the devil and his forces AND the other extreme of skepticism or ignorance of his existence and strategies. Satan is pleased with either extreme. Were he better known, he would be more hated, more resisted, and more defeated. Ignorance and deception are two of Satan’s greatest tools.

We live in a scientific age where there has been much disbelief in the supernatural, in angels and in demons. In the Western world many people doubt the existence of the devil. They see him as a “medieval and mythical two-horned, fork-tailed creature dressed in red flannel underwear, busily pitching coal into the furnaces of hell.” In contrast, non-Christian lands have a greater awareness of the reality and personality of evil forces.

Satan is subtle as a serpent, violent as a dragon, ruthless as a lion, deceptive as an angel of light.  He is the destroyer, the enemy and the murderer. He is the usurper prince of this world, the accuser, and the evil one. Satan is immensely powerful and not to be underestimated. He attacks minds with doubts, fear and lies. He attacks spirits with lust, pride and hatred. He attacks bodies with diseases and death. Left to our own resources we are no match for Satan. He can deceive us and overcome us.

We need to be on guard. We need to watch out for lethargy, indifference, apathy, and spiritual drowsiness. We need to look beyond the natural (what we see with our eyes) to the supernatural (what we cannot see).

2. Be Prayerful!

Jesus challenged his disciples to be watchful and prayerful (Matt.26:41). Prayer is our communication with God. He calls us to an intimacy and a friendship where we can talk to him about anything and everything, and where he wants to share with us his heart and mind.

Prayer is a matter of dependence. When we don’t pray we are saying “I can do it!” When we do pray, God promises to hear us and help us in every area of our life. When we don’t pray, we can drift into our own ideas and out of God’s will for our lives (see 1 Chron.21 and Acts 5:1-11). Beware that carelessness doesn’t replace prayerfulness. Prayer is our lifeline to God’s heart, God’s mind, God’s wisdom, and God’s direction.

Samuel Chadwick once said, “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less work and prayer-less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom but trembles when we pray.”

[More tomorrow ...]

Comments

Re: "We live in a scientific age where there has been much disbelief in the supernatural, in angels and in demons. In the Western world many people doubt the existence of the devil."

I come from a Church background where the spiritual battle used to mean resisting temptation (ie "rejecting the Devil and all his works and all his ways") and an intellectual battle (ie. one discerning wrong teaching).

There are certainly very subtle ways in which Satan may manifest.

On a few occasions, as I grew older and had exposure, I know people (very close to me) that have experienced things, ususally at night - ususally a sense of terrible fear, threat extreme evil - pressure on chest or back, and of being paraysed.

Sometimes this expereince is coupled with a visitation of an incubus or saccubus.

Often the being will not leave until the name of Jesus has been called on, instantly the sensation dissappears - on rare occasions this accompanied by a flash of vey bright light.

My research has shown that this expereince has been very common throughout the ages and affects many people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

Interestibgly, the scientists put it all down to a natural phenomenan.

Of course, if one does not believe in supernatural 'stuff' then of course one may look for purely physical reasons to explain away the cause.

Mark - have you or any of your readers had any experiences with these things...?

Hi Richard (Lionfish),

When I lived in Hong Kong we had several manifestations of demons. When you see an old lady (who does not speak English) swearing at you with perfect American accent being held by 4 large strong men because of the thrashing about on the floor you soon believe in the supernatural. Our churches mission trips (30-40 people)in HK would always have a deliverance tent for males and females setup with many in attendance. Again, easy to believe in spiritual realm when you see various forms of manifestations.

I am from an anglican church where it was said the pentecostals give too much credit to satan. but I agree with the above.

i actually wanted to say how much i enjoyed your sermon on marriage last week. I just listened to it again; my husband and i argued all the way home. THANKS!?
i also really enjoyed nicoles talk on JUDGEMENT a few weeks ago.
Phew to God having that role! thanks guys.

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