“The Believer’s Warfare (Part IV)”
I. The Preparation (preparing for war with Satan)
II. The Armor (armor of a soldier)
III. The Enemy
IV. The Battle
A) Insight to the message this morning
- Chuck Lawless writes on August 3, 2017…It’s no secret that Satan aims his arrows at families. In the Garden of Eden, he disrupted the marriage of Adam and Eve. In the very next chapter of the Bible, his influence was so great that a brother killed a brother. From that time, our homes have been in his sights.
- The message I believe that God wants us to hear is based on this writing of Chuck Lawless. I believe that it gives us a brief description of the battle. Here’s why:
B) Satan aims in general to destroy what God has created.
- Chuck Lawless writes…That’s just his nature. If God had granted him permission to do so, he would have killed Job.
- I believe that we need to realize what God has created, Satan aims to destroy.
- WHY God created man – Isaiah 43:7…Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
- WHY God created everything else – Colossians 1:16…For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Also see Revelation 4:11)
- Satan is a destroyer – 1 Corinthians 10:10…Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
C) Satan wants to destroy the witness of our marriage.
- Chuck Lawless writes…Paul told us in Ephesians 5 that our marriages are a picture of the gospel. If the enemy destroys my marriage, I can no longer model the gospel by loving my wife Pam as Christ loves the church.
- Many families today are destroyed because they give in to sin too often.
- We all sin, the bible tells us that, and we know that. But to continue in sin is not acceptable to God. Paul reminds us of that in Romans 6…
- Romans 6:1…What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
- Satan wants to destroy marriages and des this because both husband and wife continue in sin. No sin is worse than another in God’s eyes. Therefore, no one is justified by continuing in sin.
- Many people continue to sin trusting that God will forgive them each time. What they fail to remember is that God has a limit. Are you going to stretch that limit as far as you can? Many do and suffer because of it.
- 2) God forbid. Paul is saying that God does not allow or permit us to continue in sin. He will bring judgment upon us for continued sin.
- 2b…How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3) Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
- For married couples that claim to be a Christian, they should live to bring glory to God, not disgrace.
D) Satan hates our children.
- Chuck Lawless writes…He delights when our adult decisions affect our children by turning them against God and the church. Sometimes we become the enemy’s tools to do that when we follow his ways more than God’s.
5 areas of your children’s life that Satan wants to enter
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and best-selling author who helps women and couples find strength for the soul. She is the author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and her newest, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her books, ministry, or free resources to strengthen your soul or marriage, see her website: StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Cindi writes…Satan wants our children’s hearts. He wants to mess with their minds, deter their dreams, and take their hopes hostage.
As praying parents, you and I can deter the enemy’s influence on our children, especially when we are aware of Satan’s strategies.
So that you and I can know how to stand firm and pray specifically for our children, here are five areas of our children’s lives that Satan wants to enter:
- Their Minds
This is probably Satan’s easiest tactic. After all, he doesn’t have to do much to get your children to think like the world. All your children have to do is listen to music, switch on the television, or surf the internet, and they are bombarded with the message that they are their own god and nothing matters in life but finding self-satisfaction.
Yet studies show that your children are still mostly influenced by what they see and experience at home. It’s not too late to be a praying family (if you’re not, start by praying together before meals), to have worship music playing in your car and home, and to speak God’s words when they need encouragement, direction or advice.
Pray that God will guard your child’s mind and that His words will be “loud” to them when they are in a situation of having to choose to whom they will listen. I’ve found that praying Romans 12:2 (and personalizing it for my child) brings peace to my heart – and hers: “And do not (let my child) be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of (her) mind, so that (she) may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- Their Choices
Every day your child makes a choice. And when it’s not a good one, Satan will try to heap guilt, remorse and an “I give up” attitude within your child’s heart. That’s why it’s important for you to be there extending grace when your children are dealing with the consequences of bad choices as a way of showing them that God’s grace is always available in the form of second, third, and millionth chances to try again.
Satan specializes in accusing and shaming us after we mess up, akin to a lion seeking to devour its prey (1 Peter 5:8). Yet God specializes in redeeming us and giving us a fresh start (2 Corinthians 5:17).
You can show your child God’s grace and love even more during the times they are messing up than when they’re not. Some of the most meaningful, spiritually bonding times between my daughter and myself came after her failures, not her successes. Be there when the bad choice is made and be the loving voice of God, not the accusing voice of Satan. By doing that, you’re keeping Satan at bay through the power of God’s love and forgiveness.
- Their Disappointments and Heartaches
Kids have many of these. Perhaps as many as adults have. And when the human heart is disappointed, it’s natural to ask “Where was God?” “Why did He allow this?” and “Didn’t He care?” Satan wants your children to doubt God’s presence, goodness, and love.
When we teach our children, at an early age, to heed the instructions of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and be thankful in all things (even the disappointments of life) we are reaffirming to them that God is a good, sovereign God who has their best at heart.
We can then lead our children in thanking God, even when the disappointing or heart-breaking things happen, modeling to them how to be obedient and expectant of God in spite of disappointment.
Don’t underestimate the vulnerability of a child’s heart. Whether their pain is from being cut from a sport, experiencing a relationship breakup, rejection from someone they were crushing on, the loss of a friendship, or even the pain of their parents’ divorce, let your child know you are there for them, and so is God, and He can still work all things (even the disappointing things) together “for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
- Their Insecurities
Children have multiple insecurities that include feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, poor body image, uncertainty about their likability, and so on. Yet, a child who is convinced that he or she is loved is a child on a firm foundation.
When I wrote my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I discovered that a child’s deep need for acceptance is often at the heart of every choice he or she makes concerning friends, dating relationships, activities, and where and how he or she spends her time. When your children know they are deeply loved and accepted for who they are, it will cause them to set their standards higher in relationships, rather than making decisions so they’ll “fit in” or “feel loved.”
One of Satan’s strategies is to lure your child toward friends or places or choices that will make them falsely feel loved or accepted. Deter that move head-on by convincing your children they are loved by you – and their Creator – so they will not be vulnerable to the attacks and distractions of the enemy to fill their love tank elsewhere. Share with your child Psalm 139:14, which tells them they are fearfully and wonderfully made, no matter what other kids are saying about them, no matter how they feel about themselves, and no matter what taunts the enemy is sending their way.
- Their Schedules
Just like with adults, children who are busy, over-scheduled and constantly tired (and this often happens during their pre-teen and teen years) will not be as on-guard and alert toward the schemes of the enemy as a child who knows how to rest and enjoy life. So Satan will start with his subtle messages like “You’re too tired to go to church. Just tell your parents you need the extra sleep,” and “You have too much homework to participate in the youth group again. Tell them you’ll do it next week.”
A wise parent will notice that “next week” never comes because the enemy’s voice (or the child’s flesh) will continue to hold out.
Encourage your children to rest, and keep God as a priority in their everyday lives. As they honor Him, He will honor them and that applies to their actions, their priorities, and their schedules, as well.
Our children will often live lives as hurried and overscheduled as they see their parents live. So model a balanced life of work, rest and worship. God speaks to us in the stillness and Satan screams at us in the busyness. Ask God for discernment in how to keep your child’s life simple and sane so Satan doesn’t step in and confuse.
Remember, your best strategy to defeat Satan is not through endless conversations with your child about priorities, morality, and honoring God. Instead, have endless conversations with God about your child’s priorities, morality, and choice to honor God. There will come a time, especially when Satan is on the attack, that it is far more effective to talk to God about your child, than to talk to your child about God.
E) The enemy wants to take out the primary place of disciple making.
- Chuck Lawless writes…The first place for making disciples is in the home, where parents are to disciple their children. When that home is messed up, the church’s disciple making work is only harder.
- A disciple is a “follower of Christ.”
- When you mess up, sin willingly, and are not faithful to God, His house and worship…neither will your children when they get older.
- When you fail as a leader in your home for God’s war against Satan, Then Satan wins the battle.
- The victory in battle is ours for the taking, if only the disciples of Jesus would realize that by doing as Jesus said… Keep my commandments.
F) He wants to harm our witness.
- Chuck Lawless writes…Satan loses us from his kingdom when we follow Christ, but he doesn’t back away; in fact, the battle only gets tougher. He can’t rip us from God’s kingdom, but he can dim our light for the gospel.
- Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14…Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
- We must know that the word “light” most of the time means understanding of God and Spiritual things.
- If we don’t know what we believe or don’t know our doctrines, then how can we be a light (A knowledge of God’s truths) that will allow others to see Him?
- Satan does not want us to be a light. Satan wants to keep us dumb, ignorant of the things of God and that is why he will work as hard as he can to help you come up with every excuse in the book that keeps you from coming to God’s house and learn more.
G) He strives to remove people from ministry.
- Chuck Lawless writes…I know that church leaders debate what sins disqualify us, but that argument is beside the point here. The bottom line is that Satan wants to so destroy our homes that we have nothing left for ministry.
- We must remember here at SBBC our study of the apostles of Jesus Christ and how Satan would arise and try to ruin the ministry by creating disturbances between them, the other brethren, and discord among the Jews and etc.
- The key to any successful ministry is to not let Satan rule in the hearts of those who minister.
- Satan loves to ruin a minister’s reputation so that it will ruin the ministry for which the minister is called.
H) Satan wants to redirect the church away from evangelism.
- Chuck Lawless writes…He will do whatever he can to keep us from taking the gospel to our non-believing neighbors and the nations – including so attacking our homes that our pastors spend all their time trying to put out family fires.
- I have often told those of SBBC that I am not a fireman. I am not here to spend 90% of my time putting out fires that others start. I mean, someone said something bad about so and so and now I have to go put out a huge fire that starts to spread over the whole congregation and pretty soon the spirit of the Lord is burned up and Satan is rejoicing.
- Satan is one who loves to play with matches. If he can get a fire started, brother he will do it. He loves to “sit in wait” and watch his handiwork go up in flames.
I) He always wants to hinder prayer.
- Chuck Lawless writes…Peter warned us that unhealthy marriages block our prayer channel (1 Peter 3:7). Satan will always aim to rob us of power by weakening our prayers.
- 1 Peter 3:7…Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
J) He delights in scars he can attack later in life.
- Chuck Lawless writes…Our sinful choices often leave scars in our life and in the lives of our children. Satan doesn’t miss opportunities to rip them open when he wants to later in our life.
- This is why God warns us against sin. Every sin we commit will leave a mark in your memory bank that you cannot erase and many times that sin pops up later in life to cause us depression or anxiety that Satan will use to defeat us.
K) He wounds entire church families when a home falls apart.
- Chuck Lawless writes…That’s part of what it means to be a church – we all hurt when one hurts. Great anguish sets in when a brother and sister in Christ choose to end their commitment made to God.
- I can speak from experience on this one in my personal life, and in the experience I have learned from in our church member’s lives.
- People do not understand the ramifications of sin in their lives. This is why Jesus Cried on the cross… “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” If we knew what we were doing then we wouldn’t be doing it.
- By the word “ramifications” we mean to say (for example) that a wife sins by defrauding her husband (Not giving him intimacy when he needs it), and so the husband cheats on his wife to satisfy his desires (a burning as Paul writes in I Cor. 7:9), now the wife is in pain from the broken trust, the husband is mad at the wife for her defrauding, and then they both are upset and many times take it out on the church members or their children, divorce is an issue, and on and on it goes like the domino effect.