Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. Just a few hours later, Clark Airfield in the Philippines was attacked and the entire air wing dedicated to defending the Philippines and American interests in Asia was destroyed. Singapore was attacked and just a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack, the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were sunk outside of the Singapore harbor on Dec 10.
How could such a strong military power such as the USA and Great Britain be destroyed so thoroughly and so quickly? If you have ever watched the film “Pearl Harbor” you can get a picture of why this happened. Sailors and military personnel in Hawaii prior to the Japanese invasion were living as if there was no real enemy. They were not expecting to be attacked. The Japanese were engaged in a massive deception, trying to convince the US that Japan was seeking peace, all the while planning war.
Japan was an enemy planning to destroy the USA and we didn’t know it.
We were at WAR and didn’t know it!
A similar situation exists for many Christians today. We do not realize that there is a spiritual battle in our lives. It’s December 7, but we are living as if it were December 6.
WARFARE terminology is frequently used to describe the SPIRITUAL BATTLE that we face as believers.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:3–4, ESV)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV84)
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8, NIV84)
To survive in this battle, we must answer the following questions:
- Does Satan exist?
- Barna survey found four of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.”
- Another 19% said they “agree somewhat” with the perspective.
- How can we fight a spiritual battle when 60% of Christians don’t think that the enemy is real?
- Does it matter if we believe in Satan?
- Some Christians think that belief in Satan is optional. After all, if you believe in Jesus that should be enough.
- Satan is mentioned 29 times in the Gospels, and 25 of those references are from Jesus.
- Satan is mentioned in the Old Testament and in every New Testament book.
A Biblical World View Understands the REALITY of SATAN.
- He is the Ruler (Prince) of the world. “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.” (John 12:31, NIV84). HOW is Satan the Ruler of this world? Through society, ideas, evil people. However, there are LIMITS to Satan’s rule:
- Limited TIME
- Limited SCOPE (God always has a remnant)
- Limited POWER (“Greater is He that is in you…” 1 John 4:4)
- God of this world. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4, NIV84). HOW? Satan has “blinded the minds” of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel. Satan sets himself up as a false god to many. His power over religion and the ability to promote false religions keeps people from the true gospel.
- Prince of the Air “in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (Ephesians 2:2, NIV84). HOW? Satan controls the thoughts of those in the world’s system. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). That is why we find ourselves in the midst of spiritual warfare. Prime examples of this are found in the MEDIA, ENTERTAINMENT, the NEWS.
- Adversary/ Enemy “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV84). Satan in Hebrew means “adversary.” Old Testament uses this name 18 times, and the New Testament uses this name 34 times.
- Devil. Devil comes from the New Testament Greek word, diabolos. It is derived from the word “to throw.” The devil throws accusations and lies at us while he slanders us. This name occurs 36 times in the New Testament. “For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.” (1 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV84). When he appeared to Jesus in the wilderness, he was referred to as the tempter (Matthew 4:3). Paul also called him “the tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5) affirming the fact that Satan tempts people to sin.
What is necessary to overcome Satan’s attacks?
- A Christian Warrior’s Attitude
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
- Beware “see to it.” In other words, we are to “beware” and “be careful. Like the unsuspecting soldier who falls into the trap of the enemy, we can fall into the traps laid by Satan and by those who oppose the Bible. It appears from what Paul wrote that the Christians had not yet fallen victim to false teachers, but their existence presented a clear and present danger.
- Don’t get Captured. If you have ever played STRATEGO you know the key to victory: Don’t get captured! There are consequences of capture: We are “taken away”. We become Satan’s plunder or booty. Captives are taken away to a place not of their choosing. Paul is not talking about Christians losing their salvation, but he is talking about the powerful forces that will take us away from the pure gospel. This Warning is present tense, an ever present danger. No Christian is immune.
- Satan’s Traps
- PHILOSOPHY/ EMPTY DECEIT worldly wisdom that rejects God
- HUMAN TRADITONS/ Elemental Spirits (Principles) earthly focus
- A Christian Warrior’s Weapons
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will 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, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13
We must put on the whole armor of God. Paul not only assures us there is a spiritual war, but he also warns us that we must use the right weapons to fight the battle. These are divinely empowered weapons in order to repel Satan’s attack. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces.
Sometimes we focus on the item associated with each weapon. Paul used a familiar site, that of a Roman Soldier to illustrate the spiritual weapons God gives us. People in Paul’s day were as familiar with a Roman soldier as we would be a police officer. The important thing is not the picture of a sword, shield or helmet, it is the actual weapon itself. So each of these weapons will be emphasized here.
- The belt: BIBLE. “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth” (Ephesians 6:14a). Roman soldier would gird up his tunic. Sword and the breastplate attached. Discerning Christian must be able to handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) and expose Satan’s lies.
- Breastplate: RIGHTEOUSNESS. We also have “the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14b). Breastplate on a Roman soldier was a protective vest overlaid with metal. Our righteousness comes from Christ’s righteousness placed upon us and protects us from the intrusion of Satan and his demons in our lives.
- Shoes: WITNESS “And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. (Ephesians 6:15). We are to walk in the “gospel of peace.” The gospel is “good news” and it is a message that we are to bring to the world.
- Shield: FAITH “We are to take “the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one”. (Ephesians 6:16). This “shield of faith” protects us from any arrows Satan might launch at us (cannot prevent Satan from sending these arrows, it can protect us).
- Helmet: SALVATION (assurance of Salvation) “And take the helmet of salvation”. (Ephesians 6:17a). The helmet on a Roman soldier protected his head from blows. Helmet allows Satan and his demons to hit us squarely in the head and still be effective in spiritual warfare.
- Sword: HOLY SPIRIT We are also to take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. (Ephesians 6:17b). Every Roman soldier would carry a foot long sword into battle. We are to use the Bible like a sword against our enemy.
What Happened on DECEMBER 7, 1941? America did not know that there was a real enemy. Thousands died. Tens of thousands more would die in the years that followed.
THERE is a BATTLE going on out there.
It is a SPIRITUAL BATTLE
Be equipped with Spiritual Weapons
This outline and sermon originated with Kerby Anderson, Probe Ministries.