You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org 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're 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're just barraged with spiritual attack? You're getting hit with doubts. You're getting hit with temptations.
You're getting hit with all kinds of other problems. You're wondering what horrible sin have I committed to bring this upon myself? What have I done to deserve such a fate? What's wrong here?
Why is God letting this happen to me? How many of you have ever had that happen? Raise your hand.
Pretty much everybody. Here's something to consider. It may not be happening because you're doing something wrong.
It may be happening because you're 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's 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'm like a spiritual pacifist. Ok. Oh you're going to go down buddy.
You're going down. So you have 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's 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 while 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 a 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 if 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 exorcists 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 it is 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. Pastor Greg, prior to last year my physical body was a mess.
After many different medical procedures, they transferred me to an assisted living facility. There I shared a room with a very crabby woman who would yell at me for having my radio too loud or my light on. She claimed that she was a Christian, but was a very bitter person because of a tragic event that had happened to her son. Well, Greg, I was determined that I was going to hear your radio program, A New Beginning, even if I had to lay on top of my radio.
And surprisingly, one morning my roommate asked me to actually turn my radio up. She said to me, I like that minister and what he's saying. I not only was able to show her that Jesus did exist, but I gave her one of your new believers Bibles. Yes, God still works miracles. As for me, I'm home now and independent. My health is improving and I'm much stronger.
God is my hope and it's a joy to be alive. Thank you so much, Pastor Greg, for letting me share my story. We're so grateful to hear of the changed lives through Harvest Ministries. And if you have a story to tell of how these studies have touched your life or that of a family member, I hope you'll contact us today. Drop Pastor Greg an email, greg.harvest.org.
Again, that's greg.harvest.org. Well, currently here on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg is presenting a series called The Afterlife and the Eternal. And today he's 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 are constantly plugging in, recharging, plugging in, recharging.
Ok. The idea is you want to stay permanently plugged into Christ. And the devil doesn't want you to be plugged into Christ.
He wants you disconnected. So here is 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 is going to come your way in your emails and in your texts and from other places. So you need to get your day started in the right way. The devil doesn't want you to do that. He wants you to do anything but that.
But that is where we need to start. Stand in the Lord and in 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 some of you are thinking well this kind of sounds scary. Greg you are kind of scaring me tonight.
I don't want to hear this. Don't you have a message about puppies and flowers? No that is coming later.
I will get to that. No I really don't. I know it is 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 is why I stand in 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. Ah there is 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 will 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. You know how Batman has his utility belt right? All the cool little things. The little bat thing he throws at people. That is how they know it is 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. So they have the utility belt. They put it on. And all their stuff.
Their flashlight. All the things they carry is on that belt. So we put on the utility belt of truth. The 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 an impure 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 shot 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 the solution so I went to some store that sells athletic shoes and they got me in the 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.
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 the 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. Pastor Greg, you're a car guy, right? I am. I've always liked cars ever since I've been a little kid, for sure. I read about the new Dodge Charger Daytona SRT concept car. It's a Dodge Charger electrified. It's battery powered. It's a battery powered muscle car with nearly 900 horsepower.
Wow. But, you know, one of the things people like about muscle cars is their deep throaty sound. Yeah. But an electric car doesn't go vroom. It goes zing.
Yes. It does. But this car has a way to artificially replicate the vroom.
Oh, that's funny. I don't know how they're doing it, but it's going to sound like a classic muscle car artificially. Isn't that wild? Wow. Funny it sounds like a big toy really, doesn't it?
With a big price tag. Yes. You know, but sometimes I wonder about the sounds we make as believers. You know, there's the verse that says, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
Right. What can we do to make sure our hearts are causing us to speak like a believer? Well, I think that, you know, when you first become a Christian, there's sort of a cryptic language that believers sometimes use that I describe as Christianese. And I remember when I was a brand-new believer, I didn't know what Christians meant when they said, hey, this is worldly. I'm like, worldly?
What do you mean? Or, you know, they would use words like redeemed and justified and sanctified, and I didn't know what those words meant. So I went on a crash course on learning what these words meant, learning what the Christian life was all about.
I wish I had someone to explain it to me. Because of that, it's been part of my mission as a pastor and as an evangelist to make the things of God as understandable as I can to people, almost like we're just sitting down and having a cup of coffee and talking about these things together. So my objective is not to be complex.
It's to be simple, not simplistic, but simple and understandable. You know, the Bible says if Jesus, the common people heard him gladly. Jesus was understandable. He was accessible.
And he still is today. And to help you understand what the Bible says about life, what Scripture says about what your focus and priorities ought to be as a Christian, I've written this book called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. This isn't a huge book, but it's action-packed.
There's a lot of great material in it. I deal with all kinds of topics that believers face each and every day, like how to know the will of God, how to resist temptation, how to share your faith with others, why the Word of God is important and why our study of it is necessary, what the role of the church is, why you should be involved in the church, how to pray more effectively, and a lot more. So my hope is to make these truths more accessible to you. I heard one preacher say that the goal of a pastor is to get the cookies on the bottom shelf so the kids can get to them, right?
So here's some cookies on the bottom shelf, if you will. Here's a simple book that you could read in one sitting that I think will enrich you and help you and perhaps clarify some things for you as well. It's called The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living, and we'd like to send it to you for your gift of any size. Yeah, that's right, and we have a copy waiting for you right now. Get in touch and ask for it. And by the way, we depend on the generous support of our listeners.
It's the only way we can bring you these studies. There are no churches or large organizations paying all our expenses. So please, show your support today and be sure to ask for The New Believer's Guide to Effective Christian Living. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here to take your call 24-7, again the number 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.
Or go online to Harvest.org. 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 Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others, or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to Harvest.org.
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