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Spiritual Warfare

“Know Your Enemy” 1 Timothy 1:18-20, Luke 14:25-35

Date:April 11, 2021
Author: Wayne J. Edwards


“The Church is not a cruise ship with the pastor as the master of ceremonies, but rather a battleship, and the souls of those on-board hang in the balance.”

That famous quote by Dr. Adrian Rogers sets the stage for a new sermon series on the subject of Spiritual Warfare under the heading: “Fighting the Good Fight!” In this first sermon, we look at the first step in fighting the good fight, which is to “Know Your Enemy!”

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Old Testament reading – 1 Samuel 17:37-50 – New Testament Reading – 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Spiritual Warfare: Fighting the Good Fight
“Know Your Enemy”
1 Timothy 1:18-20, Luke 14:25-35 

Wayne J. Edwards, Pastor

   The Bible describes the constant conflict all believers in Christ face as spiritual warfare.

    • In 1 Timothy 1:18-20, the Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to “wage the good warfare having faith and a good conscience.”
      • To wage the good warfare meant to analyze and strategize the war, to see it as a lengthy campaign, and to prepare for it accordingly.
      • The term “good warfare” meant it was a noble war, a just war, a war that is not only necessary to fight, but a war that is necessary to win, for the consequences are eternal.
    • The Apostle Paul was not referring to a physical or earthly war or even a war between humans.
    • Paul was referring to a cosmic war of spiritual proportions beyond our comprehension.
      • A war between God and Satan; God’s truth and Satan’s lies; the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness; between angels and demons; between godly men and ungodly men.
      • Every person must choose which side they want to fight for and in which kingdom they want to live eternally, for there is no neutral ground.

Spiritual warfare is Satan’s opposition to God’s position, God’s purpose, God’s promises, and God’s power.

    • God’s position is the self-existent Creator of the universe, but in his jealousy, Satan wants to be equal with God.
    • God’s purpose is to redeem lost man from the wages of his sin so He can prepare a Bride for Christ, but Satan’s goal is to lure man deeper into sin and then into everlasting death.
    • God’s promise was to send His Son to be our Savior, but Satan’s goal was to destroy the Savior before He could die on the cross.
    • God’s power is to save those who will believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, but Satan’s goal is to deceive, distract, and to dissuade anyone from believing in Christ, and to discourage those who do believe in Him, to weaken their testimony and destroy their witness.

  “The church is not a cruise ship with the pastor as master of ceremonies,
but rather a battle ship and the souls of those onboard hang in the balance.”

Dr. Adrian Rogers

    • In Luke 14:25-35, Jesus warned His followers to count the cost of becoming one of His disciples.
      • To make sure they had all that was necessary to finish what they started, lest they be mocked by unbelievers.
      • To make sure they knew the enemy they were facing, lest they be overtaken or have to surrender.
    • In 1 Peter 5:8, the Apostle warned his readers that Satan prowled around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
      • Satan would like nothing more than to hijack a weak believer and lead them away from the fold.
      • Satan would like nothing more than to destroy a marriage, a family, or a church family.
    • Our Sovereign God reigns over all, including Satan and his legion of demons.
    • However, God allows spiritual warfare to affect our lives:
      • To lead lost people to come to Him for salvation.
      • To discipline believers to remain close to Him, lest they be devoured.
    • Sadly, too many Christians are not aware of spiritual warfare, much less the power of our Sovereign God to overcome it.

1. The Root of Satan’s Sin – Ezekiel 28:11-17

    • While Ezekiel is speaking to the King of Tyre regarding his evil attitude and actions, he is speaking about Satan, who was the source of the King’s evil powers.
      • No mere man is so perfect that he can be sealed off as being fully conformed to the image of God.
      • No mere man is full of wisdom or perfect in beauty.
      • The King of Tyre had never been in the Garden of Eden.
      • No man could walk on the holy mountain with God and live.
    • Satan was perfect in all his ways, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, and served as one of the angels who guarded the Ark of the Covenant with his wings.
    • Ezekiel 28:15-17 – “Till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading, you became filled with violence within, and you sinned. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.”
    • Satan became so infatuated with his beauty, his perfection, his wisdom, and his glory that in his pride, he defiled the sanctuary of God, and God cast him out of heaven.
    • There was no defect in Satan until he chose to sin, and that sin was PRIDE.

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall.”
Proverbs 16:18

2. The Result of Satan’s Sin – Isaiah 14:12-21

    • Again, the prophecy is dual in nature:
      • Verses 4-11   –  Isaiah addresses the King of Babylon
      • Verses 12-17 –  Isaiah describes what happened to Satan when he rebelled against God
    • Lucifer was the “star of the morning,” which means his glory was similar to that of Christ’s.
    • But sin rose up in his heart, and God expelled him from heaven.
    • Isaiah 14:13 – Lucifer said, “I will, I will, I will!
    • Isaiah 14:14 – Lucifer said, “I will, I will!”
    • Because of his pride, Lucifer thought he deserved to be equal with God.

3. The Reality of Satan’s Sin –

Since the day Satan was cast out of heaven, he has tried to usurp God’s position, thwart God’s purposes, spoil God’s promises, and diminish God’s power.

    • Satan tried to destroy the human race – the entire human race was corrupted by the sin of Adam and Eve. Satan’s goal was to make it so corrupt that God would have no choice but to destroy it, and in Genesis 6:5-6, the Bible says He sent a flood to do just that, but in His grace, He spared the lives of eight people through whom the world was restored.
    • Satan tried to destroy the nation of Israel – God made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would never be annihilated. Satan tried several times to destroy the seed of Abraham or to at least corrupt it through intermarriage. A man named Haman did convince the King of Persia to slaughter all the Jews, and would have, had not Esther risked her own life to intervene.
    • Satan tried to destroy the seed-line of the Messiah – while he came close many times, we know the Seed of Eve was born in the womb of Mary, and they called His name, Jesus.
    • Satan tried to keep Jesus from fulfilling His assignment – Satan was behind Herod’s order to slaughter the baby boys around Bethlehem. It appeared that Jesus was a threat to Herod, but Satan was behind the scenes trying to keep Jesus from fulfilling His mission.
    • Satan tried to thwart God’s plan by tempting Jesus to worship him – Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He would bow before him instead of going to the cross. Even Peter tried to keep Jesus from giving His life for our sins, but Jesus rebuked Peter and called him “Satan!”
    • Satan has continually attacked the Church – first, from within, through false converts and false teachers, and then from without, through persecution and discrimination.

Satan will come against those who keep the commandments of God and testify to their relationship with Christ – Satan hates God and those who believe in God, which is why he attacks us today, and he will continue to attack us until Jesus returns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and Satan is finally cast into the Lake of Fire.