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The Spiritual Battle, In the Unseen Realm

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews
The Truth Network Radio
October 19, 2022 12:30 am

The Spiritual Battle, In the Unseen Realm

Finding Purpose / Russ Andrews

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October 19, 2022 12:30 am

Today Pastor Russ Andrews continues his series through the book of Luke.

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This is the Truth Network. Do you feel like you're on a religious treadmill? Do you feel like Christianity is just a system of rules and regulations?

I can do this, but I can't do that. Do you feel like your efforts to reach God, find God and please God are futile? Do you feel like your faith is dead or alive? Today, Pastor Russ Andrews will walk us through Scripture to answer these questions. Join us on Finding Purpose, glorifying God by helping men find their purpose for living. For more information and to connect with Russ Andrews and Finding Purpose, you can visit us online at findingpurpose.net or connect with us on Facebook.

Now let's listen to Russ Andrews as he teaches us how to be a Christian without being religious. So I have entitled this message The Spiritual Battle in the Unseen Realm. In case you didn't know this, the Bible says that we are caught up in a great spiritual battle, and the battle has really been waged for the souls of men and women.

Ephesians 6 12 says, For our battle 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. So men, when you're in a war, where is the battle most intense? On the front lines. All you have to do is think about D-Day. When our troops landed on the shores of Normandy, that is where the enemy put up its most ferocious fighting.

If you've seen any war movies that depict what happened on Normandy, you remember it was just an intense battle. And this is the same way it works in the spiritual realm. When the kingdom of God comes head to head with the kingdom of Satan, that is where the battle is most intense. And in the New Testament, you see this intensity whenever the religious leaders confronted Jesus.

I contend that whenever man-made religion confronts the saving work of God, that's where the battle becomes extremely intense. Back in 1994, Raleigh was the host city for the Franklin Graham Crusade. You may remember that. And I was actually serving on the host committee, and I was in charge of raising the money as the finance chairman. One of our goals was to get as many churches involved as we could on board. And that meant them making a financial commitment to help sponsor Franklin Graham and his ministry coming into town. And I'll never forget the response from one church in particular, which will go nameless. At the time this church was being led by an interim pastor, and one of our committee members, I'm not going to name him because then you might figure out the church, he requested the church's support to which this pastor responded, and I don't remember the exact response, but it was something to this effect. He said, over my dead body will I ever be involved in any event that has any connection with Billy Graham.

Really? I find it amazing that this religious minister was so blind to the salvific work that Billy Graham did in this country, in this world for 75 years. And so as you can see from this example, the battle becomes most intense when religion encounters true Christianity. When the kingdom of Satan comes face to face with the kingdom of God, this is where the battle intensifies. This brings us to Luke chapter 11. In this text, these verses here 14 through 23, I want you to see three things. I want you to see the false accusation, false accusation made against Jesus. I want you to see the response of Jesus to what was clearly a spiritual attack, and then I want us to see what can we take away from this. What can we learn from the fact that not only was Jesus in a spiritual war, but we're caught up in the same war. So let's first look at the false accusation of these religious leaders. I want you to focus on verses 14 through 16. So Dr. Luke writes, Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute.

When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he's driving out demons. Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven. Now one of the reasons I think God has given us, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is the same reason you might have four eyewitnesses at a car wreck.

They all report factual truth, but they've given it to you from a different angle. And so Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are giving us a different angle sometimes of the same event that it's talking about. And so if you look at Matthew chapter 12 verses 22 through 24, which covers the same encounter, Matthew gives us a little more detail. Matthew 12 verses 22 through 24 says, then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. Luke told us he was mute, he was also blind, according to Matthew.

And Jesus healed him so that he could both talk and see. And then it says, all the people were astonished and said, could this be the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, notice it was the Pharisees, Pharisees.

It is only by bells above the prince of demons that this fellow drives out demons. So I want you to notice here that it wasn't the crowd, it was actually the spiritually blind religious leaders, the Pharisees who were attacking Jesus. In fact, at this point in time, they were already plotting to kill Jesus. Now, exactly who were the Pharisees? Well, these were the religious leaders over the entire nation of Israel. I think it's fair to compare them to modern-day religious leaders over any denomination. These were the religious leaders of the nation.

They were responsible for interpreting the Hebrew Bible, which would be our Old Testament, and they were responsible for guiding the people of Israel toward God, just like religious leaders are supposed to do today. They're supposed to direct people to God. So here's the question. Why do so many religious people, particularly religious leaders, tend to have such a problem with Jesus? Have you ever thought about that?

Have you ever thought about that? I would argue it is because they are spiritually blind, spiritually lost, and spiritually under the control of Satan. 2 Corinthians 4, verse 4 says, the God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers. The God of this age, who is that?

Satan. So that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. We need to realize that religious people tend to be the most spiritually blind people in the world. In fact, when someone comes at me and says, yeah, Russ, I hear you're very religious.

I'm very polite, but I correct them. I said, I'm not religious at all. I'm a Christian.

I'm a follower of Jesus. So why do religious people tend to be so spiritually blind? Well, because number one, religious people rely on their own moral striving to earn favor with God. Their religion is a works based religion.

They believe that if I do enough good deeds, if I follow the golden rule, if I'm a good citizen, if I'm morally upright, then that somehow earns favor with God. In his book, How to be a Christian Without Being Religious, Fritz Rheinhauer, and I highly recommend this book. It was copyrighted in 1960. It was first put out by the Billy Graham Association, and I have my copy from when I was 14 years old. But it's a very good book. It's actually got comic pictures in it to help you understand. That's why I liked it.

It's got a lot of pictures in it. But anyway, Rheinhauer writes, Christianity is more than a religion because every religion, including churchianity, as I call it, has one basic characteristic. It's followers are trying to reach God, find God, and please God through their own efforts. And because of their religious striving, religious people often fail to see themselves as sinners, like we just sang about, as sinners, like we just sang about, vile sinners who need a savior. Thus, they remain spiritually blind and lost because they refuse to come to Christ. And finally, when someone comes along who threatens their work-based religious system, they tend to become extremely threatened and very angry. And this is why what we see these Pharisees doing. Their religious system that they have built up is being undermined as they see it by Jesus. And they are, therefore they accuse him of healing this demon-possessed man, not by the power of God, but by the power of Satan.

Look at verse 15 again. But some of them said, by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he's driving out demons. In essence, Beelzebub is just another name for who? Satan.

So here's the question. Are Satan and demons really real? Well, I know you believe it, Jeff, and so do I, but why do I bring this up? Because so many people who claim to believe in God say that they do not believe in Satan. According to the Barna Research Group, only 26 percent of Christians believe that Satan, again this is Christians, the so-called Christians, only 26 percent believe that Satan is a personal living being. But what about Jesus?

What did he believe? Well, first I want you to notice in just a second that Jesus calls Satan by his name. He says Satan. And by calling him Satan, Jesus is pointing to the reality that Satan exists as a real personal living being. So what else does the Bible say about Satan? Let me mention seven facts about him. Number one, and this is in your outline, Satan is a personal being with a mind, emotions, and a will.

And I've got the cross represented in the outline if you want to look those up. Number two, Satan is a created being. He was created by God, therefore he's not equal to God. And number three, Satan does not rule hell. In fact, Satan is not even in hell. Hell is empty right now. The Bible teaches that Satan, excuse me, that hell was created for Satan and all of his demonic followers. But Satan is free, by the way, to roam heaven and earth to this very day.

Just go read the book of Job. Number four, the devil, Satan, man, this is important to note, can only do what God allows him to do. Number five, Satan, I'm glad you're following along with me. Satan is not omnipresent. But he does have a horde of demons called the powers of this dark world and the spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realms. That comes from Ephesians 6 12. And he uses this network of demons to tempt and deceive men just like you and me. And by the way, I believe, I don't know the number, but I believe the number of demons is in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions.

And they are actively working, number six, they're actively working to nullify the effect of the word of God in people's hearts. And then Satan also, he blinds the intellect of those who do not believe so that they cannot understand the gospel. And number seven, the Bible teaches that Satan at one time in case you didn't know this, was the most beautiful and powerful angel in heaven. And he was known as Lucifer.

By the way, the name Lucifer means shining one or light bearer. He radiated beauty. He was second only to God.

And that was the problem. He wanted to be God. And so what he did, he rebelled against God. And in his rebellion, the Bible implies that he took one third of the heavenly host to all the angels in heaven. He took one third and he led them in a rebellion against God. And they were cast down to this earth where they have limited control over everything.

Politics, education, people, you name it. They're at work in the world. And men, in case you didn't know this, their number one enemy is, first of all, Jesus. But behind Jesus are believers who are out there on the front lines sharing the gospel.

That's who he's going after. First John 5 19 says, We know that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. So this explains men why we're all caught up in a great spiritual battle. And it also explains men why there's so much evil in the world. This site is not some evil force. He's actually a real being that with his demonic horde is behind all of the evil in the world, all the evil. And it's everywhere.

And it's getting worse by the day. So back to the Pharisees. The Pharisees, the Sadducees and the scribes, not all of them, but most of them were under the control of Satan.

Now I want you to think about the irony. They are the ones charged with leading the people to God. Yet here in Luke, Chapter 11, with the Son of God standing right in front of them, they not only accused Jesus of being in league with Satan, but actually of being possessed by Satan.

We learned this from one of the other Gospels. Mark Chapter 3, verse 22 says, And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, He is possessed by Beelzebub, by the prince of demons. He's driving out demons.

How blind can you get? That's what religion does. That's why I think God hates religion. Religion blinds people from the truth of the Gospel. So how did Jesus respond? Look at verses 17 through 20. Verse 17, Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can this kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebub.

And I love this. Now, if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Did you know that Jesus is actually showing them mercy here? You know what he could have done?

Ignored their question and moved on. But he's engaging with them because he actually still loves them, and he knows they're blind. So Jesus, he answers the Pharisees with three charges. And I take these three charges from Warren Wiersbe, even though they're coming directly from the text.

And you would have seen this in your commentary. Warren Wiersbe puts it like this. He said that their accusation was illogical. Why would Satan fight against himself? And think about it. Any kingdom, any army, any business, any sports team are all bound to fail if there's an ongoing internal war, because a house divided cannot stand. Just look at America. Would you say we have a divided house?

We do. America is caught up in this spiritual war like nothing I've ever seen. Secondly, Jesus said that their accusation is self-incriminating. Apparently, some of their own leaders were casting out demons. So the question Jesus asks is, where does their power come from?

Were they also acting in league with Satan? So in essence, Jesus takes their accusation and he turns it on its head and directs it right back at them. And then finally, and ironically, their accusation that Jesus drove out demons was really an admission of his power, because he could not defeat Satan unless he was stronger than Satan. Look at verses 21 and 22.

When a strong man fully armed guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder. So see, Jesus proved his power over Satan by first binding Satan. I'm just talking about with this one man and then setting this man free of the demon who was both mute and blind. And thus, Jesus proved his divine power over who? Over Satan. And then look at verse 23, because here Jesus makes his own accusation. He says, whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scattered. As I mentioned last week, there is no neutral ground when it comes to Jesus. Either you're with him or you are against him. The man, and you run into this all the time, who chooses just to ignore God, who basically acts, he may not say it, but he acts uninterested. He's made his stance. He's made his choice.

And he'll be judged accordingly. And I believe this is the position of most religious people today. They are consumed with their religiosity. They love, and one reason that they like religion, think about this, guys, is because they love God. They love God.

They love God. It's because it's complicated. You ever thought about that? Religion is complicated. You've got to do this. You've got to do that. You've got to be christened at a certain age. You've got to be, go through confirmation. You've got to recite the Apostles Creed.

You've got to do all this stuff. But there's not much interest in Jesus. They can talk about God, but they don't really want to talk about Jesus. And rarely do they mention His name. So why is this?

Because 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. So men, in case you didn't know it, in case you didn't know it, we are engaged in the greatest battle that the world has ever ever seen. And actually the world can't see it because it's an unseen battle. And it's a battle, men, that's been waged for your heart and my heart and your soul and my soul. So what can we take away from this? Well, first of all, you need to recognize that you really are in a spiritual battle.

I want to give you some good news, though. The Bible says greater is He who's in you than he who's in the world. But we are up against a, in fact, Stefan and I were talking about this earlier, we're up against a mighty opponent. And I can tell you this, Russ Andrews has no chance against Satan, except for who? Jesus. First Peter 5 8 says, Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Do you know he wants to devour? Christians. He's already got non-believers. He can leave them alone as long as he keeps them caught up in religion where they're blind. He wants them packed into religion.

Stay there. I want you to think you're saved. That's the most dangerous place a man can be in a church thinking he's saved when he's not. And they're the hardest people in the world to reach with the gospel. But Satan is coming after you and me because he wants to prevent us from taking this truth to those very people.

Because he knows we're the only one who can do it. So how do we protect ourselves? How do we arm ourselves for this battle every morning when we get up? Well I want you to take your Bibles and turn with me to Ephesians chapter 6. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1st Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians and then you got go eat Philly cheesesteak. Galatians, Ephesians, I want to go eat Philly, Philippians, Galatians.

I'm confused. Anyway go to Ephesians chapter 6. Here the Apostle Paul writes beginning with verse 10.

We're going to look at verses 10 through 18. Finally he says, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God.

Why? So that you can take your stand against the devil schemes. 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 force of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, when is the day of evil going to come?

You don't really know do you? Any day, any hour but you want to already be armed. Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground and after you've done everything to stand. See He wants us to stand okay firm. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist with the breastplate of righteousness in place and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. What do you think the apostle Paul had in his mind? What image when he wrote this?

I think you got it there in your notes. He had a he had the picture of a Roman soldier and his and the armor that the Roman soldiers wore and a Roman soldier never went into battle without their army that that without their armor that would be a suicide mission. They always entered the battlefield fully armed and you know that what they always put on first they always put their belt on first because it was the belt that held everything else in place. The coat of armor which was made of iron and it covered their chest and it was actually attached to the belt and the belt held this breastplate of iron mesh in place. To the belt the Roman soldier fastened a sheath to hold his sword and so the breastplate of armor was hinged to the belt and the sword hung from the belt and again the belt it held everything together. Moreover the Roman soldier shoes were specially fitted with nails kind of like the very old version of the Nike track shoes and this is what gave them great traction in the end apparently the enemy forces were always amazed at how quickly a Roman army could advance and it was because of these special special shoes. In addition the Roman soldier was equipped with a special shield that was about two feet wide and about four feet in height and it was just a large shield that was designed to protect their bodies and the shield was made of a solid piece of wood and was covered with either metal or heavily oiled leather and if you can picture this the soldiers would line up on the front lines beside each other and they could actually lock those shields together sometimes they'd be a mile wide and they'd be advancing together arm in arm shield and shield and the archers would be behind them firing their arrows that's why they were so powerful and a Roman soldier never entered the battlefield without his helmet these were designed with metal plates to protect the head from energy from injury and then finally these soldiers carried a sword that was about 12 inches in length and it was this small sword that they used in hand-to-hand combat so man what Paul has given us here is a picture of a Christian man who's fully armed and equipped for battle does that describe you so how do how are we to be armed what what does each one of these pieces of armor symbolize well let's take let's take a look real quickly at each one the belt of truth remember Jesus is the truth and his word is true so I mean you must listen so you must be in Christ before you can enter the battlefield and when you go into the world you just stand upon the cross of the world you just stand upon the truth of God's word because it's the truth of God's word that literally holds everything together the breastplate of righteousness you know what that means it's when a man is declared righteous by God when you place your faith in Jesus Christ he declares you righteous it means you're in right standing before God the shoes of the gospel well it's because of the gospel men that we have peace with him peace with God and the idea here is that when you get up in the morning you put the shoes of the gospel on your feet and you go out into the world and share the gospel with others so that they can experience the same peace that you have the shield of faith and what it means men is that you live by the truth of the bible you rest your faith daily upon the promises of God and you live by them you live by the truth of God's word and you have this living faith and it's contagious and it's what shields you against the enemy this living faith that you have because you trust you trust the bible when it says that greater is he who is in you than he who's in the world you believe that and you cling to that truth the helmet of salvation me and i guess you all know this but the battleground is in our mind is it not that's where satan fires these darts of lust and all kinds of sinful desires he's trying to get it get uh to get you where you're the most vulnerable that's your mind so the the mind is the battleground and so the way that you put on this helmet of salvation is you pour into your mind the word of God you commit you commit uh the word to memory that way when satan tempts you what did Jesus do he quoted scripture and that that's how you what you do man when you're tempted you quote scripture and satan has no choice when he hears the word of God but to flee the sword of the spirit is the only offensive weapon that you possess and that is the word of God and that's why you commit it to memory and finally paul mentions prayer the most powerful man in the world is a man on his knees praying so let me ask you something guys are you hitting your knees in the morning i'm convicted because sometimes i don't i'm i like to get to work and get busy with work and sometimes i'm just praying on the go but i really think when a man gets on his knees he's humbled himself before God and you just pour your heart out to God and ask him at the beginning of the day lord please watch over me please protect me please keep me safe from the enemy and lord help me to do your will today and listen god here's that prayer james 5 16 says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective so man when you become a christian i want you to understand that you're in a you're entering a war satan is your enemy and he wants to destroy your life and the only way that we have a chance is if we take paul at his word and every morning we put on this armor of god as a shield so that when we go out into the world we know that he is there to protect us and to shield us from our enemy are you with me being a christian is not about being religious but about having a dynamic alive relationship with jesus christ you've been listening to finding purpose with pastor russ andrews glorifying god by helping men find their purpose for living you can discover more about finding your purpose in life by checking out the resources at findingpurpose.net or connect to finding purpose on facebook pastor russ would also like to extend a special invitation for you to join him and over 300 other local men to study god's word together every tuesday night at 7 p.m in downtown raleigh find out more at findingpurpose.net this is the truth network
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-22 21:10:19 / 2022-11-22 21:21:42 / 11

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