Notes on Christian Warfare (7)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Attacks of the Enemy   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

The enemy, Satan, the devil (v11). “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). He is cunning, crafty, a deceiver. His expertise lies in deception. This is one of the main reasons for his being chained during the New Testament age, to keep him from deceiving the nations (Revelation 20:1-2). He has an army and is no mean commander of his forces, he knows his business. We need to be realistic, both he and his temptations are real. He has to be discerned, resisted and refused on the basis of truth (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; 1Peter 5:9). He is not beneath using even your best friend to fulfil his purposes (Matthew 16:22). He is filled with rage, “woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” Revelation 12:12). Those of course who have fallen asleep at the wheel, spiritually speaking, or the backslidden, the complacent will nothing of the battles with the devil. He has them exactly where he wants them to be they are of no danger to him at all. In fact, it’s most probably his doing that they are in that state. Or if you truly belong to Christ are in any one of these spiritually defective conditions, it is possible that he, the devil, maybe loosed upon you to awaken you to your perilous position. We must all be resolved to go on with Christ, knowing that we have such a formidable foe to deal with. For this is a battle we will never win on our own or in our own strength. You say well I know nothing of these fights of which you speak, I have never been confronted with the devil. I am at peace, all is well, all is smooth sailing. Well, could that be because you are travelling in the same direction as he is? Examine yourself (2Corinthians 2:13:5). We must face up to him courageously when he attacks, but keep him and his filthy dealings in perspective. He is a defeated for, he has been conquered, he is a junkyard dog, he is chained and under the control of the sovereign Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:1-2).

He has been comprehensively beaten (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:15; 1Jon 3:8). In times when he is attacking us we need to be calm, stand still, in our minds take hold of the gospel facts. That Christ has defeated him once for all. This will help us to be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (v10). If we take hold of what we are ‘in Christ,’ what we have been made, and understand that ‘in him’ we are strong. Think of how we have blessed in limitless ways (Ephesians 1:3-8; 2Peter 1:3-4)? We have been raised to new and immortal life. We are, or should be, living on the victory plane (Ephesians 2:4-6). Be strong! And yet he is cunning, he is crafty, he is not called the serpent for nothing, he is wily, and we must seek to understand his wiles. He can make us think and feel weak. He has the ability to make us think that the odds against us are too great, and therefore give up the struggle too soon. And especially so in terms of our personal victories over sin and our sphere of service. He will tauntingly, and powerfully suggest to you that you will never get the victory over a peticular sin that you are fighting. Or that your service for the Lord is valueless. He will certinly seek to discourage you when it comes to prayer. One thing Satan cannot abide is to see a Christian on their knees. Therefore, to make the stand that we commanded to here, he we need the full armour of God, at all times. The apostle Paul now begins to show us what that armour is and how we are to put it on and use it. But foremost he would have you to know the enemy and his stratagems that you are up against. He comes in many guises, he will even appear as a Minister of the gospel. So we need to be able to recognise him to be able to stand against him. We need the tools to out-think this grotesque monster. Our God has provided us with all we need.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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