“The Believer’s Warfare”
- Looking at the title this morning, we need to understand the two words “believers” and “warfare.”
- When we say “believers” we are talking about those who believe in God, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
- We are also talking about those who believe that God is the sole creator of everything and everyone.
- We also believe that God sent His Son Jesus to this earth to be born of a virgin with Him being the Christ (long awaited Messiah of the Jews) who came to die for all of man’s sins, was buried and arose from the dead giving us that same hope.
- The word “believe” is in the Old Testament 17 times and only refers to belief in God calling Him LORD.
- The word “believe” is mentioned in the New Testament 118 times being associated with God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
- The word “believers” is used only twice in the New Testament. First by Luke the writer of Acts in chapter 5 and verse 14, and the second by Paul to his son in the Lord Timothy in II Timothy 4:12.
- Both times (in Acts and II Timothy) the word “believers” is talking about believers in Christ Jesus and His doctrines.
- Looking at the word “warfare” in the dictionary describes it to mean… the act of waging war; conflict or struggle of any kind.
- So when we talk about a “believer’s warfare” we are talking about the war, conflict or struggle that we believers experience with the world, our sinful flesh, and Satan.
- Any time we are engaged in any kind of war, conflict, or struggle, we must first understand that we must be prepared for the battle and wear the right equipment to protect our self from harm.
- As you know, Paul is addressing the church at Ephesus with the issues they were having with parents and their children in verses 1-4 and gave them commandments accordingly.
- In verses 5-9, Paul addresses the issues the church was having with bondservants (slaves) and their masters.
- In these next four weeks of October, I want to share with you the battle against Satan and the “5 steps in battle” that we as Christians face. 1) The preparation, 2) The armor, 3) The enemy, 4) The battle, 5) The victory.
- Today, we want to make sure that we are putting “on the whole armor of God” that Paul is talking about here to help us in our time of war, conflict or struggle.
I. The Preparation
A) Realize your position
- In any warfare whether physical or spiritual a person needs to realize where they are at concerning the battle to be taken place.
- Are you in the beginning, the middle or the end of the warfare?
- Are you prepared for the warfare?
- In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus he writes to them reminding them of what they have been taught and had forgotten. What did they forget? The same thing that we forget and need to be reminded of…
- That we have accepted Christ and have chosen to allow Jesus to be Lord of our life.
- We have been adopted by God, chosen by God and therefore belong to God, we are not our own.
- We have been given special privileges in the Kingdom of God which include… agape love(Deep love), forgiveness of our sins, the knowledge of God, the power of the Holy Spirit at our disposal, the characteristics of Christ, a home in heaven, God’s protection, etc. (The list is endless)
- Satan is the enemy of every Christian and everything that God is part of.
- To fight the enemy (Satan) you must realize your position. Are you saved or lost? Are you a babe in Christ still drinking the milk of the word?
- Are you a veteran warrior eating the meat of the word of God?
- Are you a “wounded warrior” who sits back and licks his wounds feeling sorry for himself by having a pity party that no one attends?
- You see, we need to realize our position. Realize that we need help. Realize that Satan is our enemy and he is out to destroy everything that he touches just for the shear enjoyment of it.
- We need to realize how important it is to have Christ as our general, our leader, our mentor, our guide our example, and our friend.
- Your position (if you are in Christ) is that you no longer are a follower of Satan. You are changed in your behavior, attitude, thinking, actions, responses, and feelings.
- Your desires are to please your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- In Chapters 4, 5, 6 of Ephesians Paul discusses how we are suppose to live. What our duties are as a child of God who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ).
B) Holding your position
- If you are in a good position during a war, it is important that you do not lose your position.
EXAMPLE; If you are in a physical war in another country and your enemy is coming towards you, you must first realize your position… 1) near water for drinking, bathing and etc. 2) protected by rocks and trees in case of surprise attack. 3) surrounded by hills or mountains so that we can see the enemy coming and examine their warrior’s weapons in order to plan your defense. 4) have an escape route in case the war becomes too intense.
- Trust me, Satan tempts you and knows your position by the response you have towards his attacks.
- Many people believe that Satan knows everything that God knows. They believe that Satan is all powerful. They believe that Satan is everywhere.
- If that were true then Satan would be like God in that He is omnipresent (being everywhere at the same time), omnipotent (all powerful), and omniscient (all knowing).
- Satan is nothing like God! He is an enemy of God. Everything Satan does is for his own glory his own agenda, and his own edification.
- Satan is not someone who cares for you. He does not love anything except himself. He has no grace, and no mercy. Satan is a deceiver, a liar, and the prince of darkness.
C) Realize your firepower
- As a Christian, a child of God, we must know our strength and the weapons of our warfare.
- God has equipped each soldier in His army with the weapons needed to defend themselves against Satan’s attacks.
- We have the power, but do we know how to use it, when to use it, and where to use it.
- A warrior must know that he is in the fight for his life and when you come towards the end of your warfare you can be like Paul saying… “I have fought a good fight,” and “so fight I, not as one who beateth the air,” and then he tells Timothy “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
- Basically in those three clips of Paul’s testimony he is saying “I have fought a fight worth fighting and endured in the hardships of the fight.”
- So many warriors get tired of the fighting and surrender to the enemy.
- The power of God is at your fingertips any time you need it. All you have to do is pray in Jesus name for God’s power and the wisdom to use that power wisely, and strength to endure the fight. God will do it.
- How do you know that Jesus will give you the power, wisdom, and strength? Because Jesus said He would in John 14:13…And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
- Jesus doesn’t lie, because His Father (God) does not lie! If Jesus says He will do it, then He will do it.
- There are some who say “I have in the past asked for something specific in Jesus name and He didn’t do it.” Jesus didn’t do it for one of two reasons why… 1) You didn’t believe that Jesus would do it (John 14:12), or 2) You ask (James 4:3) out of self gratification/to please yourself or your desires (you ask amiss).
- Now then, you know you are a believer and you are in a continual warfare with Satan. You also realize your position, you are holding that position, and as a soldier of Jesus Christ you also realize that you are armed with the firepower necessary to fight of Satan and his attacks.
- Just because you have all this firepower, knowledge, and position does not mean that you will succeed in every war, every battle or warfare against Satan. He is more powerful and smarter than you are.
- This is why we need our Savior.
- Paul writes in this letter to the church at Ephesus about the Believer’s continual warfare. Many wars on this earth have a time limit.
D) Realize Your Power Source
- Our power source is Jesus Christ.
- In our text of Ephesians 6:10, I want us to know that Paul knows that his death is soon to be. He realizes that his time is short, and the opportunities to get the gospel out of Jesus Christ to a world that is ignorant of Him.
- Paul further knows that in order for Christians to be able to fight Satan, he must give to them a battle plan inspired by the Spirit of God.
- Look at Ephesians 6:10…Finally (a final word from a great warrior), my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
- You are not ignorant brethren. What is our power source? “The Lord.”
- Why is “the Lord” our power source? Why not God, or the Holy Spirit, or great men of God? Why can’t they be our power source?
- In a roundabout way they all work together in our fight against Satan.
- God is all power (Omnipotent). The Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom we need to fight. Great men of God give us hope and faith in Christ Jesus because they trusted in the greatest warrior of all, Jesus, in fighting for them.
- As a warrior you must know that there is strength in numbers. When you attack Satan by yourself, you will lose. Plain and simple. It wouldn’t be a contest at all. You would be plowed under in the first season.
E) Jesus Christ was attacked
- Jesus is our strength and our example…
- What about His (Jesus) birth? Was Satan there? Oh yes he was. Herod tried to have Jesus killed. Herod went on a bloody rampage trying to get rid of this king of the Jews.
- Do you remember when Jesus began His ministry, how that Satan tried to capture our Lord at a weak moment of being without food and water for 40 days? Jesus told Satan “get thee behind me Satan.” Satan subtly tried to tempt Jesus 3 times in the desert!
- In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was confronted with Satan as Jesus was getting prepared to face the cross that awaited His arrival. Jesus sweat, as if it were great drops of blood.
- Satan attacked Jesus at His physical birth, in the beginning of His ministry, and at the end of His life on earth.
- This should be a reminder to you that Satan will attack you at birth, after you realize your position and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, and Satan will attack you at the end of your life. It is a continual battle.
- Do you know what the lie of Satan is that every believer is told? There are some believers out there in the world who will tell you that the more you practice perfect love, continual bible reading and study, the more you pray the better off you’ll be and the easier it gets. BALOGNY!
- The more you do for God and His Son Jesus Christ, the harder it will get. Satan does not give up! He is a fierce competitor. He is a warrior that is out for your blood sweat and tears. Satan cares not for your soul.
- Your only chance in this world to survive Satan’s advances on you is Jesus Christ, because He has “been there and done that!”
- Many would say to me, Bro. Ron, that’s easy for you to prepare a sermon or Sunday School lesson because you have done it for many years.
- I have news for you. The older I get the harder Satan works…
- I get tired easy after a full day’s work and find it hard to find enough strength to study.
- I also can’t remember sometimes what I have preached on before or studied before.
- Sometimes I cannot remember the address of a certain passage of scripture.
- My phone rings constantly when I am studying.
- Some days I find it difficult to focus in studying or delivering the message that God has given me.
- There are times I have to use every bit of strength I have to not slap the tar out of some members of our church when they do something stupid, especially after I have preached on it many times.
- I get frustrated at myself for doing things that I know not to do.
- Sometimes I want to sleep in on Sundays or stay home from church when I am not 100%.
- It doesn’t get easier folks. It gets harder. We are at war with a force that is very powerful and uses every avenue he knows of to defeat us or make us feel defeated.
- Have you noticed (When you are older, above 50) that your hardest battle seems to be when you wake up in the morning to start your day? Your bones hurt, your eyes are matted shut, your back, knees and shoulders ache, you get cramps, you trip on your way to the bathroom, and then you forget to put coffee grounds in the filter of the coffee pot in order to get off to a good start with a nice hot cup of Joe.
- After you get started your body seems to be fine as long as you keep your mind focused on what needs done. But, the minute you start thinking about your pain you get to feeling bad and pretty soon you are too crippled to do the work.
- This is like our life with Christ, in that when you stay focused on Christ, reading your bible, praying daily, and being careful as to your habits and trying your best at keeping yourself holy, the war with Satan doesn’t seem too bad at all.
- But take your eyes off Christ and you will start to drown as Peter can attest to that after nearly drowning himself when walking on the water with our Lord.
- But just know… the attacks of Satan are coming. Are you ready?
F) Winning small battles
- When fighting any battle and getting the victory over it, it will bring a sense of accomplishment to you that gives you the will power to start another.
- What may be a small battle to some people may be a big battle to others.
EXAMPLE: Some people may find it hard to quit smoking, chewing tobacco, cussing and swearing, going on a diet or fast, and etc. Other people may find it easier to quit the bad habits.
EXAMPLE: Some may find it hard to sit down to read God’s word while others find it easy. Some may find it easy to pray for everything while others find it hard to remember to pray for your food or needs that they may have.
- You have to start somewhere. And when you fail to improve daily then your life starts falling apart little by little and Satan is at his best when we start to get in a rut and lose heart with God.
- We mustn’t forget “rest.” To win a battle you must be well rested. Satan attacks when you are at your weakest and tired. Note what Paul writes in…
I Corinthians 16:8-9 (KJV) But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. (To “tarry” is to wait and rest up.) Why was Paul resting? Look at verse 9…For a great door and effectual (opportunity) is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
- Paul recognized that there are some great opportunities to preach the gospel and be a witness for Christ coming up and note what else awaited him… “many adversaries.”
- Look folks, when you are fighting a battle against Satan, you had better get yourself some rest because he will come when you least expect it.
- Winning any battle takes rest and the power of God through His Son Jesus Christ. Pray for it.
- Our battles today are as Paul mentioned in II Corinthians 10:4…(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
- “not carnal” means… spiritual (demonic spirits).
- Our wars are with people who are controlled by Satan.
- We may have cigarette smoke blown in our face, cuss words spoken in our presence and take abuse verbally by those of no faith and maybe by some who claim Christianity. We may also have times where it seems like we are fighting a losing battle. This world is getting worse by each day that passes by.
- Know this… Be as Paul says in our text… “my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
- Look at your spouse, your children, your church, your friends and say… “It is worth the battle to see them come to know Christ.”
- Yes we are in a battle, and we will win in the end AMEN!