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Fighting the Noble War, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
November 9, 2020 3:00 am

Fighting the Noble War, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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November 9, 2020 3:00 am

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We are engaged in spiritual warfare at its highest level it is a war of the Lord God Jehovah and his truth against Satan and his lines.

This cosmic warfare at the level of God and the highest creature he ever made Lucifer filters all the way down to environment every the battlefield is definitely not the place to find out you're not prepared to fight. That's also true in terms of the spiritual war facing every believer.

Satan's attacks are relentless and cunning and powerful.

So what does it take to stand strong against this enemy.

What resources has God given for your defense. Find out today on grace to you as John MacArthur equips you for spiritual warfare. That's the title of this study. You know John from the trends we see today.

I think people's views on spiritual warfare tend to fall into two extremes. There are those who just ignore the battle don't want to think of the Christian life is warfare at all.

On the one hand, on the other hand, there are people who turn it into a kind of superstitious, supernatural battle that they want to fight in a way that God never intended. There's another concern that I have fill. In addition to those two things and that is the fact that there is so much sentimental preaching that you would think the Christian life was some kind of picnic you would think if you listen to many many preachers that it was just a matter of feeling better about yourself and feeling more successful in getting some of your desires met and all you need is a kind of a booster kind of pep talk because it's it's really a simple happy easy kind of experience and I was thinking the other day.

I remember back when I was playing football university days and I shouldn't say this but somebody said to me after the game. One of the cheerleaders came up and said, you hear us cheering what why you're playing and I said no, which is probably a pretty heartless thing to say but I was and so somebody's there will what role do cheerleaders have in in in the outcome of the game and I said absolutely none. I was a little course and it showed up in the school paper by indifference to the cheerleaders but now there are people in the evangelical world who just think it's enough to just kinda cheerlead just I end up there and throw pom-poms around when the people out there fighting for their survival. Spiritually it's just superficial and empty and all of that sentimental kind of preaching has really taken a dominating place so you have the people who ignore spiritual warfare you have the people who offer super silly answers to the realities of spiritual warfare. Then you have the demon chasers are trying to do is use a fight in the supernatural level all that misses the point in working to get to the point.

That's what were doing the series so don't miss a day of spiritual warfare fighting to win. How well do you know the enemy of your soul, and more important, how familiar are you with the spiritual defenses God has given you to arm yourself for a battle that you can't walk away from stay here as John MacArthur begins his study on spiritual warfare. Let's open our Bibles to first Timothy chapter 1 first Timothy chapter 1.

Let's look to verse 18. This command I and trust unto the son Timothy, according to the prophecies which pointed to the that thou by them mightiest fight unknowable warfare holding faith and a good conscience, which some, having put away have made shipwreck concerning the faith of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander whom I have delivered on the Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. I want you to notice at the end of verse 18.

Just this statement. Paul calls Timothy to war a good warfare to fight unknowable fight is not battle it is not a skirmish. It is not a brief fight is a long-term continual campaign.

So what Paul is saying to Timothy in writing this whole epistle is intended to gear him up to fight a noble warfare to find a noble or excellent campaign. He is calling Timothy to the realization that he is in a spiritual battle. Now remember, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus. He left them there to battle against the enemy.

The enemy had encroached upon the Ephesian church error was being taught. False leaders were in positions of prominence and power and authority. Godliness was under attack and Timothy is to set those things right so he is right at the forefront of a part of this great spiritual warfare and what Paul says to him in these three verses is very instructive to all of us who at one place or another are engaged in the same battle the same campaign.

Now let me just say at the beginning that the warfare of which Paul speaks has at its highest level but tremendous conflict between God and Satan. That is the primary level of the warfare. Everything else in a sense, comes under that is a war of the Lord God Jehovah and his truth against Satan and his lines is a war between God and his will, and Satan and his will in such a war is not only fought between God and Satan, but between demons and holy Angels, and between ungodly men and godly men so that this cosmic warfare at the level of God and the highest creature he ever made Lucifer filters all the way down to involve every human being including us, not for us to understand this warfare.

We need to take a look at its elements you remember in Luke chapter 14 and verse 31 Jesus laid down a very obvious principle in another context, but the principle applies. He said what King going to make war against another king sits, not down first and consults whether he is able with 10,000 to meet him. It comes against him with 20,000 in other words, Jesus is saying no king goes to war unless he understands the terms of battle unless he understands the power of his enemy unless he understands that which is at stake in the warfare and we are engaged in a spiritual warfare now. Originally, there was no war, there was no rebellion.

Everything in God's world and God's universe was perfectly harmonious.

There was no reaction to his sovereign rule. There was no animosity toward anything that he expressed as his holy purpose and will. There was no conflict, no fight, no rebellion, just perfect peace and harmony. But then there came a disastrous event which set God and Satan against each other for all eternity in order to understand that I want you to turn in the Old Testament to the 28th chapter of Ezekiel Ezekiel's prophecy, chapter 28. I want to set your mind in the framework of understanding this warfare and we begin to get a grip on it here in the 28th chapter of Ezekiel now the prophet Ezekiel is giving prophecies against tire we see that as we begin in verse 11. Moreover the word of the Lord came on to me saying Son of Man and that is a reference to Ezekiel, he is called that in the Old Testament, take up a lamentation on the king of Tyre and saying to him, thus saith the Lord God thou Selah stop this some know what is that mean simply this, when a thing is sealed it is sealed because it is completed is sealed because it is finished is sealed because it is consummated just as when you write a letter folded up put an envelope and seal it when you complete a work and you seal that work is done.

So here is one who seals up the sum, that is a perfectly created being someone who is so complete that the work is over, that the sum of it is done in the seal is place. Verse 12 also says this individual who seals up the psalmist, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Wisdom lacking no wisdom and perfect in beauty, not missing that cannot refer to a human being. No human being is so perfected as to be sealed off, signed and finished. No human being is full of wisdom and no human being is perfect in beauty. Furthermore, verse 13 says thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God that could not refer to the king of Tyre, who was not in the garden of Eden. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God that is to say we're looking here at the serpent the devil the enemy the adversary who was there in the glory of the garden of Eden, so also it says in verse 13 every precious stone was thy covering, and then it lists nine precious stones. It simply telling us this is a perfect, glorious, magnificent creature. Verse 14 calls him the anointed cherub that covers the Jews saw the most sacred of all angels as the covering cherub.

What that means is that when the mercy seat on the top of the Ark of the covenant was designed by God. It was designed that there would be two angels, one on each side spreading their wings over the mercy seat, called the covering cherub. They were representative of those angels, which concern themselves with the holiness of God, and they cover that mercy seat where the atonement was made between God and men by the sprinkling the blood on the day of atonement those sacred Angels then which were the cherub that covered those to the minds of the Jew which of the most sacred would then be related to this one that was created. It was called the anointed cherub that covers the highest angelic creature caring for the glory and the holiness of God and it says in verse 14. I have set these so God not only created angels, listen carefully, not only created angels but he created them to fit into a ranking.

They are a hierarchy of angels.

There are angels and archangels. There are cherubim and seraphim.

There are rulers and principalities and powers and all those terms have to do with the different strata of angels in God's design for the functioning of the angelic network to carry out his bidding and here, then, was one who supremely was set as the anointed cherub. Further it says in verse 14 thou wast upon the holy mountain of God, thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. The holy mountain of God, and the stones of fire, would be the glory of the very dwelling place of God.

This angel dwelt in the holy mountain and walked in the area of the stones of fire.

Speaking of the holy ground on which the throne of God would be placed in that heavenly environment. Verse 15 says thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created again emphasizing the absolute perfection of this creature and then you might want to underline this comes the disastrous statement till iniquity was found in the till iniquity was found in the and there is the beginning of spiritual warfare at the cosmic level as Satan then pits himself against God. And so this angel is iniquitous.

Verse 16 further describes that and God says because you have sinned, outcast US profane out of the mountain of God, and I will destroy you will covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart here is was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness and other words you were so glorious and so wonderful that you became corrupt. Now here's the only indication we have asked of sins origination.

It says thy heart was lifted up, it didn't come then from with in as to how it came from within.

We do not know. We do not know what this angel was so enamored with his own perfection in his own beauty and his own wisdom and his own glory, and so by that iniquitous response of pride did he verse 18 to file the sanctuaries that God threw him out of heaven to be destroyed. Now let's find out specifically what the sin is by looking at another Old Testament prophet Isaiah, and chapter 14 Isaiah in chapter 14 and here we find again in a prophecy and indication of the behind-the-scenes power. This prophecy has to do with babbling and the destruction of Babylon, but there was a greater power behind babbling. Just as there was a greater power behind tire and we find that power identified and spoken of in chapter 14 beginning at verse 12 notice carefully how art thou fallen from heaven all Lucifer, son of the morning. Lucifer means DayStar son of the morning, how art thou fallen is reminiscent of Luke 1018 were Jesus said, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. How art thou, verse 12 cut down to the ground hooted.

We can the people and why did this happen. What was the sin that rose up in the heart. What was this sin that rose up in the bosom as it were of this anointed cherub verse 13 tells us very clearly. Notice in verse 13. I will I will I will three times. Verse 14 I will I will.

The problem was prime. The problem was he was lifted up by his own beauty. He was so close to God that he became jealous of being God and sought to be equal to God, he says, verse 13. Again, it comes out of his insides out of his heart is not in the environment, it isn't really in him is created perfection and yet it comes from within his heart is invented by him no inside or outside element of the created perfection of God stimulated it. He on his own invented this pride and he said I will ascend into heaven. It isn't enough for me to be where I am. I want to go higher. I want to be at the very dwelling place of God. I will ascend into whatever left of heaven is still occupied only by God, and I will take my place with him, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, that is, I will cease to be an angel among angels, even though I am a leading angel and I will go beyond angels stars here refer to angels, I will go beyond that and I will be as God.

I will sit on the mount of the congregation I will take my place. There were God alone sits where God alone reigns in the sides of the north. Verse 14 I will ascend above the heights of the cloud. I will ascend above the height of God's glory. I'll be like the most high, so out of this generated invented sin of pride comes the warfare and God then responds in verse 15 and here is the counterattack you will be brought down to Sheol, to the sides of the pit. Now you understand from Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 the nature of this supernatural conflict. Now he is not alone in this.

Let's go to the last book of Scripture Revelation in chapter 12 verse three. There appeared another wonder in heaven. In the vision that John has her behold a great red dragon, but pictures this Dragon is one who is the the summation of all forms of anti-God world government.

He has 10 horns because he is the supreme ruler of the final Confederacy of human nations against God which we know from Daniel seven is the 10 nation Confederacy of the revived Roman Empire. The pits itself against Christ.

So here is the Dragon he embodies all the evil of the systems of man. He embodies the final form of human world government set against Christ. This is none other than Satan himself and it says in verse four that his tail. The tail on the Dragon. In this imagery drew the third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. Now we learn from this that when Satan fell. He drew with a one third of the angelic host angels do not procreate, and angels do not die, they were created to live forever, either in the domain of God on the domain of Satan, hell itself was created, Jesus said for the devil and his angels and hell is eternal because they are eternal, so angels then are created beings. They were all created at one point in time and they live forever. They do not procreate. There are as many demons today are rather there is many angels today fallen in unfallen is the word of the day God created there's no diminishing, and there's no adding to the ranks. We know nothing of sequential creation and we know nothing of the abbreviating of any angel for a host of forces.

So God creates a whole angelic host and that's the end of his creation of them and they do not procreate now. Of that group.

One third of them went with Satan and his fall. That's what the text to say two thirds remain with God. One third was Satan. Satan then in his cosmic warfare is not alone. He's always a tremendously powerful creature, though he has great influence in the world that we can move on the souls of men that we can become the force behind governments and nations, and anti-God activities worldwide.

He is not omnipresent. He's fast, but is not omnipresent, but his work is enhanced because 1/3 of the whole angelic host is whether they say how many are there. I don't know but I do know there are angels and there are angels and there are angels because the Bible talks about them in terms of 10,00010,000, and thousands of thousands, which uses the word in the Greek language which is the largest Greek word to express numeration. They have no word larger than 10,000 so it's as if he is saying more and more and more and more we might say, zillions and zillions and zillions using our typical hyperbole. We do not know how many there are, but 1/3 of them are actively involved with Satan.

Now some of that third party. Any good to him.

The reason is there bound in everlasting chains. We read in Jude that there were some angels who send at the time of the flood in Genesis 6 and they were put into everlasting chains. We don't know how many there were, but they came down cohabitated with men which God drowned in the flood that segment of demons is bound in the pit and they are in everlasting chains. There are others. I believe there temporarily change your member that the demons and them and the demoniac of good. Dara said don't send us to the pit, perhaps through the redemptive history God has been putting more and more in the pit and some of them will be released. Revelation 9 says in the tribulation are going to come out of the pit, but not the ones in everlasting chains.

So we started with 1/3 of them, some of them originally everlasting chains. Some of them are in temporary chains.

Whatever is left is working within the world and he is working against God and the holy angels not to give you little more insight into the passage in the conflict.

We have to ask the question what is the specific target of these angelic beings that have fallen and are now known as demons.

What is their target. Go back to verse one John says there appeared a great wonder in heaven.

A woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars again typical of the imagery of Revelation.

The woman is none other than Israel.

The woman is Israel the sun and the moon.

No doubt are references to Jacob and Rachel and the 12 stars would be references to the 12 sons, you can compare Genesis 37, nine, so here is the woman Israel and the woman Israel.

Verse two being with child cries out, travailing in birth pain to be delivered here is this woman about to bring forth a child know what was the great child brought forth to the nation Israel, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ and we know that verse five. Let's pick it up there and she brought forth a male child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron will. That can be anybody but Christ and her child was caught up to God is essential is Ascension after his perfect work and he sits on the throne. So we have basically then Israel, bringing forth a child in the midst of that vision while she desires to bring forth the child as it were, verses three and four we have Satan gathering his force at the end of verse four it says he is ready to devour the child as soon as it was born. Is that not the case. What happened at the birth of Jesus Christ. Did not Satan do everything he could to destroy that job. I mean always the Dragon fights against the Messiah and that's the way the warfare goes Satan against God focusing on the destruction of Christ and his work and now he continues to fight against the work of Christ in his church. He will fight against Christ when he comes in his return. It will go on and on until finally he is bound forever in the pit of hell, the lake of fire, but I want you to notice it during the time of the tribulation in the future. There's an interesting focal point of the battle. It says that woman Israel. Verse six is going to go into the wilderness during the tribulation for 3 1/2 years, the period after the rapture before the second coming, there's going to be a Holocaust on the earth but Israel will be protected and while all this is going on in earth. Notice the description.

The comes in verse seven there was war in heaven.

They underline that because that's really true that is a consummating statement.

There was war in heaven. There, there will be war in the future, there was war in the past and there is war right now in this particular scene. Michael and his angels are fighting the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels. Now there have another element of the warfare is God against Satan. But it is also Satan and his angels against God and his angels. The chief of which is now Michael and they have fought, and they are fighting and they will fight. We know in the Scripture that this battle is not just relegated to the future we find Michael in contention with the devil about the body of Moses. In Jude 9 so Michael and the devil were even added back in the time of Moses and they will still be added in the future. At the time of the tribulation.

Now the battle eventually filters down to us over verse 17, the Dragon was angry with the woman went to make war hunt to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. When that great battle. The tribulation breaks out. Satan is ineffective in wiping out the nation Israel what you would love to do because that would thwart the plan of God. Satan will attack the people of God and that time is he's always attacked the people of God. Just notice verse 17, the people who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. So now they are. The war is still to start with God and Satan went down through the holy angels and the fallen Angels announce down and it's a warfare against those who are the ones who know Jesus Christ who keep the commandments of God.

So were in the warfare to yet Satan fallen Angels and ungodly men God holy angels in the redeemed and there are the arms so we must draw the lines very clearly and thanks for being with us here on grace to you with John MacArthur along with teaching on the radio. John also serves as pastor of Grace Community Church and Chancellor of the Masters University and seminary today. John began to show you how to stand strong against Satan and his attacks in the study. John calls spiritual warfare. Now as you examine your own life, you may find you could use a bit more study on the assaults of Satan what they are what they aren't and how you can withstand them.

If so pickup John series spiritual warfare. The four CD album is currently on sale for 25% off the normal price.

Contact us today. Call our customer service line at 855 grace we are here to serve you weekdays from 730 to 4 o'clock Pacific time or to place an order anytime go to our website Jide Now keep in mind that we have discounted not only the spiritual warfare CD album but also just about every item we sell. That means you can get the MacArthur study Bible, including the premium editions with goatskin covers at 25% off regular prices and shipping is still free. This is a great time to purchase a MacArthur study Bible for a special Christmas gift for a loved one or pickup devotional books like strength for today drawing near daily readings from the life of Christ or any of John's New Testament commentaries 34 volumes to choose from all of that and more are available at a 25% discount for limited time so call now to place your order 855 grace or go to Jide now for John MacArthur and the staff. I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow for another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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