Our True Battle

Posted on 12/03/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Good morning, and welcome. If you came here today expecting to encounter the Spirit of the Living God, say "Amen!"


Let's all stand to our feet in honor of the Great King, who is with us here today, and let's welcome him into this place by going to him in prayer and praise.

Lord God, we welcome you here today! We invite you, Holy Spirit, into our midst. We each invite you to have your way with us today.

Teach us what you would have us hear today. Change us where we need changing. Correct us where we need correction. Grow us where we need growth. And help us today listen to and hear the voice of God a little clearer, so we can be a little more like Jesus.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.

Please click-touch the pulpit for a notecard, as we continue to welcome Jesus here today with our songs of praise.


IT'S TIME

It's time for the dead and gone
Time for the broken ones to live again
It's time time for the dead to rise
Time for the wings to fly to live again

I can hear the calling
I can hear the sound of rain
Over the mountains and over the valleys
I hear the calling it's time

It's time for the dead to sing
Time for the walls to ring
With the songs of freedom
It's time for the numb to feel
Time for the wounds to heal
With the songs of freedom

It's time time for the tide to turn
Time for our hearts to burn with a desperation
It's time it's time for a sacrifice
It's time that we paid the price for our generation

Over the mountains and over the valleys
I hear the calling it's time

It's time for the dead to rise
It's time for the wings to fly
I hear the calling it's time
It's time for the numb to feel
It's time for the wounds to heal
I hear the calling it's time
It's time that we paid a price
It's time for a sacrifice
I hear the calling it's time

Over the cities and all through the nations
I hear the calling it's time

It's time for the dead to rise
It's time for the wings to fly
I hear the calling it's time
It's time for children to return home
It's time for the prodigals to come back
I hear the calling it's time
It's time to break down the walls
It's time to see them all fall down
I hear the calling it's time

Over the cities and all through the nations
I hear the calling it's time


SET ME ON FIRE

I am so tired of compromising
I am so tired of lukewarm living
So here I am with arms wide open
Lord here I am my heart wide open

      Set me on fire
      Set me on fire
      Set me on fire
      Set me on fire

Take this heart of mine
Place Your love inside
I want to go against the grain
I want to go against the grain


MORE LOVE MORE POWER

More love, more power,
More of You in my life;
More love, more power,
More of You in my life.

And I will worship You with all of my heart,
And I will worship You with all of my mind;
And I will worship You with all of my strength,
You are my Lord.


Thank you Lord for filling this place with your Holy Spirit! You are worthy of our praise, and although we have nothing in ourselves fitting for the King of the universe, you take what we offer you today and turn it into a sweet-smelling aroma, precious and priceless in your sight.

Continue to open our eyes and our hearts today, so we will accept your Word, and so it will take deep root in our hearts and grow into your Kingdom in our lives and the lives of those around us.

And it's in Jesus' name we pray.

Amen.


You may be seated.

The name of my message today is "Our True Battle."

Turn with me today to the sixth chapter of Ephesians, and let's read, starting with verse eleven:

11. Put on the whole armour of God, so you may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the  devil.

12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against  the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
 
13. For this reason, put on the whole armor of God, so you may be able to withstand in the evil day,  and having done all, to stand.
 
14. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of  righteousness;
 
15. And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
 
16. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts  of the wicked.
 
17. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
 
18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all  perseverance and supplication for all saints;


First we are told to "Put on the whole armor of God, so we may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil."

This implies that if we DON'T put on the whole armor of God, we won't be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.

This also implies that if we don't put on the WHOLE armor of God, we won't be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil.

We tend to pick up from the world a "Truth Buffet" mentality. We tend to think we can apply PART of the truth to our lives and benefit from the promises that are given for applying ALL of the truth. And then we question whether Scripture applies to us, because things just don't seem to work.

So if we are going to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil, we must put on the WHOLE armor of God, making sure no piece is weak or missing. And then we can rest assured that no matter what the enemy brings against us, we will stand.

Do you continue to face defeat after defeat? Do you face constant doubts and struggles with your faith? Do you continue to fall into the same sins over and over, not being able to gain the victory over them?

Do you feel as though the enemy keeps plowing over you, stealing your joy, your peace, and your purpose and direction?

Then stay with us for the next half hour, as we take a closer look at these truths in God's Word which tell us how to gain victory over the enemy in every situation.

You see, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickness in high places."

Our true enemies are not the people who hate us and wish to destroy us. They have simply chosen to align themselves with our enemies.

Rather, our true enemies are principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.

It's very important to know who your enemy is, so let's take a look at these four things -- principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.

The definitions we'll be using to identify these enemies today are taken from the Greek Bible dictionary.

1. Principalities: The source, the first in a series, the leader.

It's so easy to become distracted by a result that we never know the source. In fact, we tend to believe the result IS the source.

Let's take terrorism for example. I dare say most of the world believes the terrorists are the source of terrorism. But very few of us realize that terrorists are not the source of terrorism; rather, terrorism comes from an invisible source, the first in a series of events, a spiritual leader.

Please don't mistake this statement as a challenge against using physical force to protect the innocent. In a battle, we don't go after the leaders of the battle while leaving all the warriors alone, because the warriors have chosen to become the arms of their leader.

However, the true enemy we're fighting by fighting these arms of destruction isn't flesh and blood. Rather, it's a principality, the leader, the first in a series, the source.

And whether those visiting violence on others are Islamic Jihadists, Nazi forces, or witch-hunting crusaders, all unGodly violence comes from a principality, the first in a series, the source.

So when we identify what is behind most of today's terrorism, we can begin to pray fervently against the strongholds of false religion, deception, the darkness which masquerades as light, and pray for the deliverance of those who have embraced it.

And we can remember who is the father of lies, and the demons who serve him. So while those appointed to visit the vengeance of God on evildoers protect the innocent by driving back those who serve satan's purposes, we all should identify the true enemy and fight the source, the root, the principality.

And aside from prayer, we scatter darkness not by talking extensively about darkness, but by shining the light of Truth through the heart-piercing rays of love and unashamed, unflinching loyalty to the uncompromised Truth of God's Word.

So our first enemy is the principality, the principle source of what appears to be our enemy, what's behind the evil coming against us. And this principality is where you and I should place our primary focus of spiritual warfare.


2. Powers: Influence, the power of choice, that which has permission or rights.

The first power we encounter is the power in our own life. In Proverbs 4:23 we read, "Keep watch over your heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the springs of life."

The influences in our lives affect our choices, and the power of our own wrong choices is one of our enemies. When we choose, for example, movies and music that are influences to follow the flesh and unGodly directions, we are letting down our guard over our heart, and what we allow in will flow back out of us.

The powers also include that which has permission or rights. When we choose that which does not please God, we are giving that thing and the principality, or source, behind that thing, permission and rights over the related areas in our lives.

Do we spend all our time seeking after self-gratification? Then self-gratification has our permission to consume our time -- we have given it the right to do as it pleases with our time.

Do we entertain lustful thoughts or actions? Then immorality has our permission to consume our marriage (whether we're married or will be in the future), and we have given immorality the right to control our sexual thoughts and behaviors.

Do we start each day in prayer and Scripture reading, and acknowledge God in all our ways? Then righteousness and the Spirit of God has our permission and rights over our time and our ways, and we will see the fruit of his power and transformation working in and through our lives.

By our words, actions, and even our attitudes, we influence others. If you think no one is watching you or being influenced by you, then you are sadly mistaken. Each of us has a circle of influence, and someone is going to follow your lead.

These influences and choices of our will develop into strongholds, things which become seemingly unconquerable masters in our lives, and which take serious, consistent action and assistance to overcome.

So watch over your heart with all diligence, choosing Godly influences in your life through your entertainment, your activities, and daily filling and surrounding yourself with things which please and glorify God and are rooted in his Word, and you will be successfully waging war against one of our biggest enemies, the powers of darkness.


3. Rulers of darkness of this world: Satan and his demons, ruling over the darkness and blindess of this world and the universe.

There are countless examples in Scripture and history of demonic influences ruling over the darkness and subsequent blindness of this world.

Those who don't believe in deliverance from demons are turning a blind eye to a very real and dangerous enemy.

Whether a demon can indwell a Christian is a matter of debate, and it's not important at this moment whether a demon is inside a person or just attached to a person. What's important is to recognize the existence of this enemy so we can defeat it.

There are many ways in which we open ourselves to demonic influence or control. These things include certain movies and books, including horror, pornography, and those with a spiritual but not Scriptural theme, traumatic experiences such as rape or other physical or mental attacks against us, bitterness, unforgiveness, lust, coventousness, criticism, or any other unGodly thoughts we entertain.

Sometimes these things become strongholds, or powers, in our minds and lives. And often times a stronghold becomes a throne of power upon which a demonic force or forces take a seat of power, sometimes comparable to evil birds building a nest in an area of our lives.

And yet we read in Mark chapter sixteen, verses seventeen and eighteen, "And these signs shall follow those who believe; In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; They will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

So our first step is to surrender to Jesus, asking for forgiveness and making the choice to turn away from our sins and follow Jesus, walking in his ways and doing what pleases God.

And we will receive the authority to command demons to loose their hold on us, our lives, our finances, our families, and our situations which belong to God because of our obedience to Scripture in those areas.

James 4:7 tells us, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

And remember there's more than one of us because we need one another. Sometimes we may need to have others pray over us and take us through deliverance.

There's no reason we need to cower under demons and let them have their way with us and that which is ours. Let's identify our enemies and put on the whole armor of God so we can defeat them!


4. Spiritual wickedness: The evil purposes and desires of the human spirit, ruling in the heavens (the  spiritual atmosphere).

The fourth and final enemy in our passage today is spiritual wickedness, which is the evil purposes and desires of the human spirit, which is in alliance and harmony with the demonic forces at work in the world today.

The human spirit casts a light, or a shadow, on its spiritual surroundings, and attracts other like-minded human and non-human spirits to itself.

Some such spirit-created atmospheres are neutral, such as a cultural atmosphere. Others are either good or evil, depending on their context, such as a sexual atmosphere in a married couple's bedroom or the same atmosphere amongst those not married to eachother.

Yet others are exclusively good or evil, such as an atmosphere of murder or an atmosphere of Godly worship.

Regardless of what the spiritual atmosphere is, it is created by human spirits and it is in harmony with non-human spirits, namely angels or demons.

It is impossible to watch a horror film without projecting a spiritual atmosphere of horror, and it is impossible to project a spiritual atmosphere of horror without attracting demons.

It is equally impossible to enter into true worship to God without projecting a spiritual atmosphere of worship, and it is impossible to project a spiritual atmosphere of worship without attracting the presence of God and his angels.

So whether we direct our soul and spirit to please God or please ourselves and our fleshly desires, we are projecting that into the spiritual atmosphere, and we are attracting the same spiritual activity into our surroundings and our lives.

And so we identify our own fleshly desires and choices as a true enemy, one which, just like the other three, we will overcome if we put on the whole armor of God.


And so we'll spend the next few minutes taking a look at the armor of God, and pondering how we can make sure all the pieces are in place in our lives so we can walk in victory, winning our spiritual battles, and wreaking havoc on the forces of darkness.


In verse thirteen of Ephesians chapter six, we read what our response should be to our enemies of principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.

And we read, "For this reason, put on the whole armor of God, so you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

And in verse fourteen we discover the first piece of armor: "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.

It's been said that those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. And it's true. If you are not solid in the truth, you will fall into deception.

The phrase "gird your loins" means "to prepare oneself for something requiring readiness, strength, or endurance." The loins are also regarded as the seat of strength and reproduction.

If we are to be ready, have strength, and endure, and if we are to be able to reproduce true disciples of Christ, we must be firm in the truth of God's Word.

The loins, in Scriptural context, are considered the base of strength and power. The foundation. The place from which our own endurance and readiness come.

And that is why it is imperitive we base our lives on the Truth, and God's Word IS truth.

We learned earlier that each one of us influences others; and regardless of how many we influence, those also influence others, making our own influence ripple out into humanity with powerful force.

If we are rooted and grounded in the Word of God and base all our thoughts, actions, and decisions upon that firm foundation, our inescapable influence will create true disciples of Christ, as others follow the truth because WE follow the truth.

Jesus did not say to collect decision cards or count the number of people who say a "sinner's prayer." Rather, he told us to preach the Good News to everyone everywhere, making DISCIPLES of all people, teaching them to live according to the truth of God's Word.

If we are not rooted and grounded in God's Word, we will be sterile in creating disciples; for a disciple of anything other than the Truth is not a disciple of Christ.

The verse goes on to say, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness."

It is imperitive that we fill ourselves with Scripture, engraving it upon the tablets of our heart.

But there is a particular reason for filling ourselves with God's Word. It's not because the words themselves will solve all our problems just because we know them, or even because we know them well.

Psalm 119:11 says, "Your word have I hid in my heart, so I might not sin against you." And Deuteronomy 30:14 says, "But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, so you may do it."

So as we fill ourselves with God's Word, we must then live by that Word, putting it into practice in every area of our lives. This will be our breastplate of righteousness, guarding our hearts from which our choices and our spiritual atmosphere flow.

So the belt of truth is God's Word which we must daily meditate upon, filling ourselves with it and basing our lives upon it, and the breastplate of righteousness is the practical application of that Word, as we live by it, basing all our decisions, thoughts, and activities on the Word of God.

The belt of Truth will give us strength and endurance, and the breastplate of righteousness will guard our very hearts. Without them, we will not have the strength to endure and will not make true disciples of the Truth, and we will be vulnerable to complete destruction.

So let's make sure we daily gird our loins with Truth, and are wearing our breastplate of righteousness.


Next we are told to make sure our feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace.

What happens in battle when you aren't wearing shoes? You won't be able to run after your enemy. Your feet will become wounded. You will become ineffective in battle.

And what happens when we are not prepared to share the Gospel in a way that will provide those hearing with a clear path to Salvation? We won't be able to gain ground in the enemy's territory, and we will become ineffective in the battle.

If you met a lost soul later today and God told you, "This person is going to die in one hour, and will end up in hell if you don't tell them about me and tell them in love," what would you say?

Certainly the Holy Spirit can give us the right words to speak at the right times. But 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, correctly understanding and teaching the Word of Truth."

I would recommend getting together with a Godly friend, or pretending by yourself if no one is availabe, that you're talking with an unsaved person. And if there are any things of which you're not sure, if you don't know Scripture that clearly explains how to receive Salvation, then study until you are sure and well-equipped to perform the Great Commissions Jesus has given to you.


Next is the shield of faith. "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

This says "Above all," meaning the shield of faith is the most important piece of the armor of God. The shield of faith is not only the most important piece of armor, it also is built up by all the other pieces.

Romans 10:17 tells us, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

We cannot have faith without hearing the voice of God, and we cannot hear the voice of God without eating our daily bread, the Word of God.

In Matthew 4:4 we read, "But (Jesus) answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedes out of the mouth of God.'""

So the more we read and fill ourselves with the Word of God, truly listening to it and making it a part of ourselves by obeying it, living by it, and basing everything else in our life on it, then we will start hearing the spiritual voice of God. And the more we hear the voice of God, the more faith we will have.

For, "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

Does this say "some" of the fiery darts? Or even "most" of the fiery darts? No, it says "ALL" of the fiery darts of the wicked.

Our enemies are constantly shooting fiery darts at us, and it seems as though many of them seem to get through, weakening us, leading us into doubt and fear, making us unable to overcome temptation and do what we know would please God.

But the shield of faith will not only block, but will quench, or extinguish all of the fiery darts of the wicked.


And finally in verse 17 we read, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

We know that Jesus is our Salvation. Do you know Jesus today? Do you have a daily, person relationship with him? Do you fellowship with him, and is he the center of your life around which everything else in your life revolves?

The helmet guards the source of action and insight for the rest of the body. Our minds are truly a battle ground, and all too often we allow them to become the devil's playground.

And yet we read in first Corinthians 2:16 that we are to have the mind of Christ.

We are also told in second Corinthians ten, verses four and five, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Do we watch our thoughts, making sure every single one is obedient to Christ? Do we cast down every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, which is the Word of God?

The more we fill ourselves with the Word of God, the more equipped we will be to recognize which thoughts do not line up with the Truth of Scripture, and we can then begin identifying these enemies and bringing them captive P.O.W.s to the obedience of Christ.

We are to daily be in the process of being transformed into Christ's image by the renewing our our minds.

Romans 12:2 tells us, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God."

And how are our minds renewed and transformed? Ephesians 5:26 tells us that we are sanctified and cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word.

Whatever we put into our minds will change them. Jesus is the Word of God. Jesus is our Salvation. And as we put the Word in our minds and line up our every though with that Word, we will be wearing the helmet of Salvation.

I would like to encourage you to find and utilize all the resources available to help you fill yourself with and study the Word of God. For an online resource, you may find the following website very helpful, as it is a growing resource for studying Scripture both alone and with other believers.

Go to www.communitykingdom.com, register, and click on The Great Scroll.

And the final piece of armor is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is alive, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

The Word of God will illuminate our true intents, even when we think we know what they are. It shines a light, making a clear distinction between things which previously seemed one and the same. And it is a very important part of our armor, weaving in and out of all the pieces, as they all interact with and work in synergy so that, we may be able to stand against the deceitful trickery of the devil, withstanding in the evil day, winning every battle against the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.

"And yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (Romans 8:37)


The ministry team can come stand across the front now as we close with prayer and ministry.


Lord God, thank you for your Word, and for speaking to us today by your Holy Spirit. I ask that these words of truth will sink deep into our hearts today, and that we will take action upon them.

And we ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

This altar is open for prayer and ministry. Feel free to come join us up here as we seek God together.

If you need prayer or ministry, or want to know more about how to give your life to Jesus and be on the right side of this raging war, instant message one of these ministers.

Now may God grant you peace, a growing hunger and passion for him and his Word, and may you be fully equipped with the whole armor of God, so that you will become victorious in all things. Amen!