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How to Fight the Spiritual Battle: Opposition From the Enemy

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2022 3:00 am

How to Fight the Spiritual Battle: Opposition From the Enemy

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 27, 2022 3:00 am

The old evangelist Billy Sunday said, “Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.” How many of us have our fingerprints on the doorknob, and wonder why we fell to the devil’s lures? Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us good insight on the spiritual environment we’re living in. It’s a look at the spiritual battle being waged all around us, whether we realize it or not . . . and how we’re all combatants in the fight.

View and subscribe to Pastor Greg’s weekly notes.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at harvest.org. Anyone who chooses to follow Jesus Christ will face severe opposition from the enemy. Today, Pastor Greg Laurie explains the pressure we so often feel as we walk with Christ. It comes from our adversary. The moment you became a Christian, you entered into a spiritual conflict. The devil effectively declared war on you. It's been said, conversion has made our hearts a battlefield.

So you've got to learn how to fight. The old evangelist, Billy Sunday, said temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in. How many of us have our fingerprints on the doorknob and wonder why we fell to the devil's lures? Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie brings us good insight on the spiritual environment we're living in.

It's a look at the spiritual battle being waged all around us, whether we realize it or not, and how we are all combatants in the fight. Have you ever just been walking with the Lord, doing all the things you think a Christian ought to do, when all of a sudden you are just barraged with spiritual attack? You are getting hit with doubts. You are getting hit with temptations. You are getting hit with all kinds of other problems. You are wondering what horrible sin have I committed to bring this upon myself.

Right? What have I done to deserve such a fate? What is wrong here?

Why is God letting this happen to me? How many of you have ever had that happen? Raise your hand. Right.

Pretty much everybody. Here is something to consider. It may not be happening because you are doing something wrong.

It may be happening because you are doing something right. And you are a threat to the devil. So this is something we need to be aware of.

Listen. Like it or not the moment you became a Christian you entered into a spiritual conflict. The devil effectively declared war on you. It has been said, conversion has made our hearts a battlefield. Anyone who chooses to follow Jesus Christ will face severe opposition from the enemy. And you have a choice in this spiritual battle. You can win or you can lose.

You can gain ground or you can lose ground. But you can't just say, look dude I am like a spiritual pacifist. Ok. Oh you are going to go down buddy.

You are going down. So you have got to learn how to fight. And you have to learn how to use the weaponry that God has given to you. By the way the Bible frequently uses the images of war and conflict to depict the Christian life. Paul exhorted Timothy in 2 Timothy 3 to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. He also wrote, I fought the good fight.

The Christian life is not a playground. It is a battleground. But here is the good news. We can win in this war. And here is some more good news.

We are going to win in the end. So if you feel like you are being a little overwhelmed right now just understand that God is with you. And He has told you how to win in this spiritual battle. You know Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. Ever heard that statement before? Now what does that mean?

We say it all the time. You know the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. What do you think that means?

I have no idea but I like the way it sounds. Right? What does it mean when it says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church? We have to go back to ancient times and the way they conducted warfare. And we know that a common military tactic used by armies in that day was to break down the gate of the enemy's fortress with a battering ram.

Right? You have seen it in a lot of movies. So the battering ram sometimes it is on fire. It hits the wooden gate and the gate catches on fire and the soldiers rush in and defeat the occupants of the fortress.

So the idea is the gates will not prevail against the battering ram. So the idea here is as we are moving forward as Christians as we are gaining ground not just holding ground and hopefully not losing ground as we are advancing into enemy territory if you will with the message of the gospel we are going to ultimately win the battle. The gates of hell will not prevail against us or be able to stop us. So here we are now looking at what this battle is going to look like for us. It is important we understand it because to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Let me say that again. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. So let's find out about this war we are in. Let's all look at Ephesians 6 verse 10. Finally my brothers, I am reading from the New King James Version, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles, that is an old timey word that means strategies and deceits, stand against the strategies and deceits or wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places or just the supernatural world. This is talking about the rankings of demon powers that are out there. Just like in the military we have rankings. We have generals and corporals and lieutenants and sergeants and buck privates and all that.

Well in the supernatural world there are rankings of fallen angels as well as rankings of holy angels. Anyway. So we are fighting against these hosts in the supernatural realm. Therefore. Remember whenever you see the word therefore find out what it is there for. So in light of this or therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day having done all to stand.

So if you are taking notes here is point number one. Recognize this is a spiritual battle and it must be fought with spiritual weapons. Let me say that again. Recognize this is a spiritual battle and it must be fought with spiritual weapons. You fight fire with fire.

And there are some key ways to overcome the devil and his demons because God has not left us in the dark here. And he tells us, verse 11, put on the full armor of God. And that phrase put on carries the idea of once and for all. Do it once and for all. Or do it permanently. The full armor of God is not to be put on and taken off.

You need to keep it on. Because we are going to be in the battle to the final day. The spiritual battle ends when we get to heaven.

Not before. So we keep the armor of God on. And why?

Number two. Because Satan is a super being and he is more than I can ever handle. Satan is a super being. He is a powerful fallen angel.

I am no match for him nor are you. Verse 11. That you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. See my objective is to stay as far away from the devil as I possibly can.

Not to skate as close to what he is offering as I possibly can. The Bible tells the story in the book of Acts about some guys called the sons of Sceva who are identified as exorcists. And they were trying to cast a demon out. By the way the Bible never validates exorcists.

It validates casting demons out of people. But there is no real biblical office of being an exorcist. And so someone says I am an exorcist. My gift is casting demons out.

Sorry I don't find that in the Bible. I do find demons being cast out but not a person with a specific gifting of exorcists. These guys were called an exorcist or exorcists rather. And so they tried to cast a demon out. And they said to this demon possessed guy, come out of this person in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.

Because they had seen Paul do it so they thought they could do it like in some magic formula. And the demon in the guy says, listen I know Jesus and I know Paul but I don't know you. And then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence they fled from the house naked and battered. That is what happens when you try to take the devil on in your own strength.

So don't go there. Why come to you in the name of Jesus whom Paul know you better just stand in the Lord only and not go where you shouldn't be. And this is a picture of us trying to overcome Satan in our own strength. You know when there is a situation and an officer is called. An officer arrives, a call for backup. Call for backup.

And we need to do the same. When we are in spiritual battle we need to call for backup. And that backup is the Lord Himself. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages. God's word ministers to them.

And it often gets them through some of their darkest hours. Hi Pastor Greg. Your messages have been a blessing to me this last year. In 2020 I had heart valve replacement. Then my dad had heart issues and was in the hospital until he passed away.

Three days after that my husband and I tested positive for COVID. It's been tough but listening to your encouraging words and your books on audible have helped me through it with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. I know there will be more bumps in the road along the way mainly because I'm a six time cancer survivor. But I know who guides me in my journey and I thank God for servants like you as well.

God bless you. We're encouraged to know that listeners are hearing these messages and God is using His word to comfort them. How have Pastor Greg's studies impacted your life?

Would you let them know? Drop an email to Greg at harvest dot org. That's Greg at harvest dot o-r-g. Well we're nearing the end of our series of most requested messages of the past year. And today Pastor Greg is giving us some powerful principles for spiritual battle. Let's continue.

Number three. To win in the spiritual battle I must stand in God's strength not my own. To win in the spiritual battle I must stand in God's strength not my own. Verse 10. Finally my brothers be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Or literally strengthen yourself in the Lord.

See what the devil wants to do is get you as far from God as he possibly can. Sort of like our phones. You know they keep coming out with new versions of every phone out there. Every new iPhone. Every new Android phone.

And they have all these features they add. All I really want is a phone that has enough battery life to get me through the day. Really that's what I want. How about you? I don't care about all this other stuff.

I don't care what color it is. And I don't care about these extra features. Just get me through the day because you watch that battery drain and get lower and lower. So you're constantly plugging in. Recharging. Plugging in. Recharging. Ok the idea is you want to stay permanently plugged in to Christ. And the devil doesn't want you to be plugged into Christ.

He wants you disconnected. So here's what you need to do. Start the day with the Lord. When you get up in the morning don't start the day with social media. Don't start the day checking your emails. Start the day with the Word of God and with prayer and that will equip you to deal with all that stuff that's going to come your way in your emails and in your texts and from other places. So you need to get your day started the right way. The devil doesn't want you to do that.

He wants you to do anything but that. But that's where we need to start. Stand on the Lord and on the power of His might. Again I want to keep as much distance between the devil and myself as possible.

It comes down to this. Flee temptation and don't leave a forwarding address. Run from it. And so some of you are thinking well this kind of sounds scary Greg. You're kind of scaring me tonight.

I don't want to hear this. Don't you have a message about puppies and flowers. No. That's coming later. I'll get to that. No.

I really do. I know it's scary but let's just remember one simple statement. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. God is more powerful than the devil and all the demons. So that's why I stand on the Lord and in the power of His might and I don't stand in Greg in the power of my might because I can collapse quickly just like you. Now Paul breaks down the various pieces of armor. Look at verse 14.

Stand therefore others therefore again. So in light of this stand therefore having girded your waist with truth having put on the breastplate of righteousness having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace and above all taking the shield of faith with which you'll be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. So six pieces of armor are mentioned. Six pieces. The first three the belt the breastplate and the shoes were attached to the body never to be removed. The second three the shield the helmet and the sword were for specific purposes in methods of attack. So it starts by saying gird your waist with truth.

Let me just use a more modern translation. Put on the utility belt of truth. Ok. You know how Batman has his utility belt right. All the cool little things. Little bat thing he throws at people. That's how they know it's Batman right. That little thing he throws.

But think about a police officer. They put on that belt on the outside of their uniform. They call it a Sam Brown. And on the Sam Brown they have a holster for their gun. A place for their cuffs. A place for an asp possibly which is a little baton thing they pull out and use. They might have other little items. They have a little thing to hold a donut. They have.

No they don't. But so they have the utility belt. They put it on. And all their stuff.

There is flashlight. All the things they carry is on that belt. So we put on the utility belt of truth. A Roman soldier had a belt. And on his belt he had a sheath which was for the sword obviously. And also the breastplate was attached to the belt. And the belt also pulled his. Well it pulled his little skirt up ok. Because he wore a toga.

A toga is basically just like a skirt. And so it would be down over his knees. So when he is going into battle he pulls it up above his knees and he cinches in the belt so it stays above the knees giving him freedom of movement. Now he pulls his sword out. You have got to have the belt on because if someone pulls your belt off off comes your breastplate. There goes your sword.

And your dress just fell to the ground. You are looking stupid right. So what does this even mean? Put on the belt of truth.

Basically it is just saying bottom line. If you are not walking truthfully before God none of the rest of this really matters. You know if you are living a hypocritical life.

If you are saying one thing and doing another then this is not going to work for you. So you start with a truthful right relationship with God. Then you have the breastplate of righteousness.

What does that mean? The breastplate of righteousness. Well it is certainly not the breastplate of self-righteousness because that won't do anything for you. It is the breastplate of God's righteousness. It is not even the breastplate of your personal righteous living. What it is is a representation of your stand before God.

We talked about how we are justified. Which means when you become a Christian God forgives you of all of your sin and then He puts the righteousness of Christ into your spiritual bank account so to speak. And you stand positionally right before God. I am a righteous man.

You might say well Greg I saw you drive in here. I don't know about that. I didn't say I always do righteous things. But positionally before God I am a righteous man. You are a righteous man. You are a righteous woman. So I stand in this special relationship with the Lord. And I bring this up because one of the devil's primary tactics is accusation.

You know he comes up to you and he tempts you to think it in pure thought and then you sort of ticket for a test drive and he attacks you. What a hypocrite you are. You are not even a Christian. You don't believe in Jesus. Boom.

You know blows against the breastplate. But this is righteousness where I am not standing in my good works or what I have done for God. I am standing in what God has done for me. Very important.

Number three. We are to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. This is the footwear of the soldier. It gave him firm-footedness and mobility on the field of battle. If a Roman soldier wanted to be effective in battle he had to take care of his feet. One of the common tactics of the enemy of that day would be to take sticks that were sharpened and embed them in the soil. So as the Roman soldiers are advancing into battle they step on one of those sharpened sticks that goes to their foot. They are out of commission.

They are not going to march one step further. So you want shoes that support you properly. I was having some sort of a thing where my shins were like kind of aching and I had these Nike airs and I kept thinking that was a solution. So I went to some store that sells athletic shoes and they got me in a treadmill and they said, you know we know what your problem is.

You are pronating. That offended me. I slapped the guy. Then he explained what it meant and I apologized quickly.

No I didn't slap him. But pronating which basically means that my foot sort of rolls. And so he said, you need more support. You don't need airs like Nike airs. You need a firmer sole. So I got shoes with firmer soles for when I run. Which is never. But still.

I have them now. So what does it mean to have your feet shot with the preparation of the gospel of peace? It speaks of standing firm and gaining ground. So when the enemy attacks I don't back down or just hold my ground. I try to advance.

So let's put it all together. The belt of truth speaks of purity. The breastplate of righteousness speaks of integrity. Putting on your gospel shoes or having your feet shot with the preparation of the gospel of peace speaks of mobility. And how do I gain ground?

Very simple answer. By proclaiming the gospel. That is how we advance in this spiritual battle. Romans 10 14 says, how can they call on Him unless they believe in Him? How can they believe in Him unless they have heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?

And how will anyone go and tell them unless they are sent? And that is why the Scripture said, how beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news. So look at your feet for a moment. Look at them. Those feet can be beautiful feet.

Right? If you let those feet carry you forward with the message of the gospel. Pastor Greg Laurie with important insight today on spiritual warfare explaining God hasn't left us unequipped and unprepared for that battle. And there's more to come here on A New Beginning as his message, How to Fight the Spiritual Battle continues.

It's one of the most requested studies of the past year. Well, we're so pleased to have Pastor Levi Lusko with us today. As you may know, Levi is lead pastor of Fresh Life Church with campuses in Montana, Utah, Oregon, and Wyoming. And he's author of the new children's devotional book we're making available called Roar Like a Lion. Levi, it's such an engaging book. The art design is just wonderful.

And it's interactive with so many extra features. But explain the anchors in the book. What are those about? Oh, Dave, I'm glad you brought that up. You know, my family loves to go to Disneyland.

We love to go with the Laurie family when we have the chance. And one of the fun things to do at Disneyland is to look for the hidden Mickeys. There's these hidden Mickeys built into the rides all around the park. You can Google it and find them and it makes the fun just one more fun thing to do when you're there. And so we decided to put hidden anchors all throughout the book like on page 22.

There's one in the sushi tray. And so as you're reading the kids, my kids love the squeal out hidden anchor hidden anchor, it's built into the trestle of the roller coaster or the, you know, whatever and the science experiment of the, you know, Rude Goldberg machine. And, and then at the back, of course, there's a whole entry on the anchor because Hebrew says, if you have hope, it's like having an anchor and a storm and a boat that's anchored can be moved, but it won't be totally lost because it has something holding onto it. And that's really just one of the things that we want this book to be because, you know, it's hard to teach kids about death.

It's hard to talk about some of these things, but we have a whole entry on page six called not the end where we talk about death. And so my hope is that families would be launched and propelled into having difficult but important conversations through, you know, this simple tool that will make them, you know, facilitate such a thing. You know, Levi, I know that the anchor is personal to you and your daughter, Lenya, as I remember, as we said goodbye to her and had her little funeral service, which was such a powerful, poignant, sad, and yet hopeful day because of the hope of the resurrection. But I know the anchor was something that was important to you. Tell us why you personally use that symbol when you think of your daughter, Lenya. Yeah, well, in addition to Hebrews 619, which gives us such a beautiful picture of having an anchor, and I'm even just filled with gratitude and choked up a little bit thinking about that because I'm so grateful for your family coming out for the service. You preached Lenya's funeral, were there with us in the snow that day.

You know, we love that symbol of the picture of hope. And when the week we were trying to get ready for the funeral, we couldn't find Lenya's anchor necklace. We had given each of the girls a little necklace with an anchor on it.

We couldn't find Lenya's anchor necklace. And Livvy said, well, I want her to be buried with mine. So Livvy gave her anchor necklace and we, you know, put that on Lenya in the casket. Of course, we know she's with Jesus.

She's not worrying that she's, you know, with Christ. But in the casket, she's wearing this anchor. And we had an artist come in because the casket that we could get in time was not the one we wanted. We looked at the catalog and picked one out.

But because it was Christmas week when she died, they couldn't get it in time. And so we picked a very simple casket, but we had this artist paint a beautiful anchor on the lid of it. And so that's on there.

Then my wife and I both had that anchor symbol tattooed on us as just a reminder of hope. And I know there's some people maybe who object to tattoos. That's not really the point of this message. The point is, it's for us a very important symbol of a truth. And that is the death is not the end.

That's right. So Levi and I have something in common. We both have children that went to be with the Lord. Our son Christopher was unexpectedly called home to heaven through an automobile accident in 2008. And little Lenya went to be with the Lord in 2012.

And so we share this pain. But here's what I love about what Levi and his wife Jenny have done and their family is, is they've taken this pain and they've put it into purpose. They don't live hopelessly. They live hopefully.

And, but they also live realistically. See, you know, sometimes Christians, you know, we don't want to talk about the hard issues, but we shouldn't be afraid because the Bible addresses the afterlife. It tells us there's the hope of heaven. It tells us how to live in this life. And so I appreciate the fact that Levi's pressed on.

You know, not everybody does that. Some people have their marriages fall apart when a child dies or they have all kinds of other issues that develop later on. But Levi and his wife Jenny and his children have all pressed forward. The Lord's blessed him with a little with a little son now as well.

And they're all pressing forward serving God. And one of those efforts, the fruit of that is this brand new book by Levi Lusko called Roar Like a Lion. It's sort of themed around the idea of a lion.

He called his little daughter Lenya, Lenya Lion. And he wrote another book through the eyes of a lion that talks about all that they went through with saying goodbye to Lenya. But this is a book that will inspire you. And it's a devotional to read with your family, especially your kids. So we hope you'll order your own copy of Roar Like a Lion by Levi Lusko. 90 devotions to a courageous faith.

Yeah, that's right. And we'll be glad to send this resource your way to thank you for your partnership and bringing the hope of Christ to so many each day. We recently read a social media comment that said, I wanted to let you know you're a great inspiration to me. You've helped me through the toughest times this past year, just being able to listen to you and watch you online. You have made a difference in my life and many others. Well, you know, that kind of encouragement could never happen without the partnership of listeners who help make these daily studies possible. If you've partnered with us, thank you. And if you can make a generous donation right now, we'd like to send you this wonderful new children's devotional book, Roar Like a Lion.

And we'll only be able to mention this resource a short time longer. You can donate online at harvest.org or just drop us a note at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us anytime at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Well, next time, Pastor Greg offers more insight on the spiritual warfare we face and the equipment God has provided to help us fight victoriously. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Lorick. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-17 05:38:35 / 2023-06-17 05:49:55 / 11

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