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Preparation for Warfare - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2023 12:00 am

Preparation for Warfare - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 15, 2023 12:00 am

Since we are constantly in battle against Satan, how can we remain steadfast and stable against his attacks?

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, May 15. The spiritual world is very real, but we don't think about it too much. Today's podcast discusses the reality of the believer's warfare. In 2 Timothy chapter 2, he said suffer hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And in 2 Corinthians chapter 10, he talks about the weapons of our warfare, pulling down strongholds. He talks about captives and he talks about enslavement and battles and strategy and all through the Bible. There's a lot in here about warfare. Well, I wonder how that sort of matches with the fact, for example, that the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.

And he said that you and I would be known by the fact that we love each other. That's how the world would know that we belong to Him. And then when I think about the fact that the Apostle Paul in one passage of Scripture talks about warfare and weapons and the armor, and in the same passage Scripture starts talking about prayer. Well, you know, when you think about it, you don't think about prayer and fighting going together. And so you have to ask yourself the question, what is all this in the Scripture about warfare? Well, that's what I want to talk about in this passage today, because this is the first in our series on the believer's warfare. And the title of this message is preparation for warfare, because the truth is every single one of us are in a battle.

Now, most people don't realize it, but we are. And the Apostle Paul had something very clear to say about that. If you'll turn to Ephesians chapter six for a moment, Paul says, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, he says, take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day and having done everything to stand firm.

And then he says, stand firm, and he lists all the armor that the believer is supposed to have. So it's very evident in this passage that there's going to be opposition in your life and my life. That is, if you and I walk godly in Christ Jesus, Satan will oppose our lifestyle. He will oppose our conversation, our character, our conduct. He will do everything in his power to frustrate, bring anxiety, confuse. He will do everything in his power to steal from us the Word of God. He will do everything in his power to keep us from serving God.

He will do everything possible to create confusion and disunity and disharmony and strife between God's people. He is at work morning, noon, and night. He is at work while we're asleep. He's at work while we're awake. He's at work in the lives of unbelievers. He's in the work in the life of the believer. He is at work in the church, in commerce, in everything that is happening all over the world. Satan is involved in it.

And if you'll notice, he says here, not only Satan, but he has a whole host of folks who are working for him, his demonic powers, because he says, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against what? Rulers, powers, world forces, spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. And so all of us would like to think in terms of having a life of sort of ease and comfort, a little bit of pleasure, and just having enough challenges in life that would keep us interested in life and keep us growing. The truth is, that's not the way life is.

Life gets very, very difficult and tough at times. And one of the primary reasons is that we have an enemy who is doing everything in his power to throw every roadblock possible before us to keep us from becoming or achieving the things that God would have us to achieve in life. In this passage, the apostle Paul says two things that I want us to be sure we understand. There are many things in this passage, and we'll come back to it over and over again, but two things primarily.

Notice what he says. He says, finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. And then what he does, he tells us about the things we're going to have to face, because the truth is that we do face a battle. When you wake up in the morning, you are into a battle.

The moment you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you were born again onto a battlefield from which you will never leave until God calls you home. You were born into a battle that will never cease. It does not mean the intensity of it will always be the same, but the battle will always be there. There'll never be a time when the battle's over. What is the nature of this battle? Well, it's a spiritual battle.

How do I know that? Well, first of all, because we are spiritual beings. Though we have a body and a soul and a spirit, that which is the most important part of us is our spirit, because you and I could live and we will live one day without these bodies.

We leave them here, and God takes us on a home. We're still going to have our spirit and our soul, the real us. That's how we relate to God is through our spirit. So the truth is that you and I are spiritual beings, and this is a spiritual battle because what Satan is after, he's after every part of us. He wants to get us in our body. He wants to get us in our soul, our mind, will, our emotion, our conscience, our consciousness, and he certainly wants to deal with our spirit to do anything he can to tear us away in our thinking from Almighty God and our relationship to Him.

It is that personal relationship that you and I have with Jesus Christ. That is his ultimate target. Now, he'll hit us in our body. He'll hit us in our emotions, but what he's after most of all is our personal relationship with the Father, knowing that he absolutely cannot tamper with our spirit. That is, he cannot separate us from God. He cannot in any way reach down and take us and destroy anything about our eternal security.

We're eternal and secure because God in His love and grace has made that a reality. So since he can't take our spirit, what he will do, he will harass us every way possible to make us miserable in life and to keep us from enjoying the Lord and being the kind of witness God wants us to be. And once in a while somebody says, well, the devil doesn't bother me. Listen, if he's not bothering you, then he's got you in a place that he's so satisfied where you are, he's not even messing with you. So if you think, listen, if Satan's not bothering you, what you did is you just confessed you're playing his game, and he already has you where he wants you, so he's just going to leave you alone as long as you're fine.

As long as you're following him. This is a warfare. It is a war against your soul, your spirit, your body, your future, and your present. Listen, and it's against everything that you love and everything that you hold dear and especially those truths that you believe in with all of God. Listen, he is against the belief system of the child of God. It is a spiritual battle. Not only that, it is a real battle.

There's no question about it. The only people I know who do not believe in the devil are those who've been blinded by him. And so when I look, for example, if you'll turn to 2 Corinthians for a moment, look, if you will, in the fourth chapter and listen to what he says in this fourth chapter and the fourth verse. He says, speaking of the unbeliever, in whose case the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving that they may not see the light of the gospel, the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. He says he's blinded their eyes. Listen, one of his tactics is to get people not to believe in him.

Now think about this paradox for a moment. Here's the Lord Jesus Christ and what is his goal? To get us to recognize that he is real and we're to believe in him. What does Satan want to do? Satan wants us to deceive us so that we won't believe there's any such thing as the devil.

And secondly, listen, that we won't believe there's such a thing as he is and we certainly will not talk about him. So as long as he can get people not talking about him and not believing in him, then he's got them where he wants them. He can do all the kind of underhanded, dirty, nasty, low-down works he does in a person's life. And as long as they don't realize there is a Satan and that there is strategy going on, there are his victims, then he's got them exactly where he wants them. So when somebody says, I don't believe in the devil, chalk him up, he's got them right where they are. That is his ultimate weapon. If he can just get people not to believe in him, that he does not exist, therefore his strategy, his works and his ways, they won't give him any credit for that. He doesn't want any credit for it.

He just wants to get what he's after. That is the enslavement of mankind. This is a real battle. The devil is real. And not only that, but listen, the hardships and the difficulties and the trials he sends in their life, they're real. And when you're hurting emotionally, it's real. When you're hurting physically, it's real. It's real pain. It's real hurt. These are real situations, real circumstances.

This is where we live. We have to face things, financial situations, family situations, physical situations. All these things are real. He's behind every single act of sickness.

I'm not saying that God does not allow things in life, but ultimately all death, all sin, all sickness, all evil, ultimately is the result. You have to trace it all the way back to Satan in the Garden of Eden. That's where it all began. And so therefore, you and I have an enemy who is out to destroy us at any cost.

And he'll use any means, listen, any means to do so, which God allows him to use because he is not unlimited in the things he can do. This is a real battle. It's real hurt.

It's real pain. For example, temptation is real. Victory over temptation is real. Walking through difficulty and hardship and suffering from that's real.

But being able also to walk through difficulty and hardship victoriously, triumphantly, knowing that God is with us and being able to praise him through this and learning the principles of Scripture, they too are real. This is a real battle. This is a spiritual battle. And so when somebody says, well, you know, I don't know that it's all that serious.

Let me tell you how serious it is. This isn't a matter of just life and death. This is a matter of eternal life and eternal death.

Because when Satan is able to bring a person along until they come to death and die without the Lord Jesus Christ and they just followed in his footsteps and done the things that he wants them to do and they don't even realize it, when they die without Christ, they are lost eternally. This is a life and death battle. It is a deadly warfare that you and I are in. And so when people just sort of float through life and say, well, that's just chance. That's life.

These things just happen in life. I want to tell you, there is a very clear strategy that Satan has. He is a master at strategy. He is a master at deception. He is a master at division. He is a master at pain. He is a master at stealing the glory from God by working in the lives of his children.

So we're talking about something that in the eyes of God is absolutely extremely important. And this is why Paul says, now, here's what you have. Here's who you are. Here's how to live.

But I want to tell you, you're going to have opposition. Now, the question is, knowing these things, why is it that so many of God's people fail? Why is it that we give in the temptation? Why is it that we can't walk through difficulty and hardship triumphantly and victoriously?

Well, I think there are a number of reasons, and let me just mention some of them here. First of all, many, many believers, many Christians do not even, they're not even aware that there's a war going on. They don't even realize there's a spiritual war going on. They just go through life, and their life is full of this and full of that and full of the other. And they just say, well, that's chance. That's luck.

That's just the way life is, and that's just my circumstance. And so they have no earthly idea that there's a war going on. So they're totally ignorant of the fact that there is a war. And so when Paul says here and says it so clearly, he said, we have opposition from and begins to name it, a second reason I think so many people falter and fall in their Christian life is because they're ignorant of the enemy. Jesus makes minute-minute references to the devil and to demons. He cast out demons. Well, he wasn't just playing some game.

He was casting out literal demons, and he was dealing with the devil. Jesus certainly believed in that. But we are oftentimes ignorant of the fact that there's a warfare, ignorant of the fact that there is an enemy. I think one of the primary reasons that we falter and fall is that we're untrained soldiers. When I think about how little training most people get who go to church week after week or who don't go to church, they're not trained. Listen, any man who goes to war who is untrained in combat won't last very long. And see, some people say, well, I don't need any training.

You know, I've been saved, and that's it. So what happens is Satan hits them on the blind side, fires one of those fiery darts, and hits them where they don't expect it, and they wonder why they go down, because they're untrained. One of the primary problems also is they don't know how to use the weapons they have. We have two awesome weapons. One of them is the Word of God, and the other one is prayer. When I think about the fact that the Word of God is so full of tremendous instruction as to how to resist the devil, how to walk in the Christian life, how to walk in the Spirit, how to glean from the Spirit, how to draw from the Spirit, when I think about the fact that you and I have the privilege of talking to the Father, that we can pray to Almighty God and speak to Him, and He speaks back to us, we have two awesome weapons that we can wield in this warfare when needed.

But most people, they don't have any idea how to wield them. They say prayers, but they don't understand the principles of prayer. They wonder why God does not answer their prayer oftentimes, or why they seem like they're talking to the wall.

It's like boomeranging off the wall. They don't understand how to take the Word of God and fend off the devil when he attacks in certain ways. So they don't know how to use their weapons. Another primary reason they falter is they fall for the propaganda of the devil. The devil's got propaganda, and he's got plenty of it out there. And that propaganda says you ought to do this, and you ought to do that, and you ought to buy this, and you ought to buy that.

And what gets God's people in trouble is they take God's money and spend it on what the devil entices them to spend it on because they listen to propaganda. You turn on the television, propaganda. Read the magazines, propaganda. Look at the newspapers, propaganda. Got to have this, ought to do that, must do this, ought to be this, ought to be yonder, ought to live here, ought to drive that.

What happens? That's the propaganda of the devil. And he's funneling it into our minds and hearts all the time.

If you listen to the world's ways, and remember, this is a world system we live in. The Bible says that Satan is the prince of this age, the god of this age. We live in a system that, listen, that is under the control of Satan, whether it is science, whether it is medicine, whether it is commerce, whether it is education, it doesn't make a difference what it is. Satan has penetrated every single aspect of human society, including the church. Religion is a part of what Satan does. Christianity has nothing to do with the devil. And so everywhere you turn, Satan is involved himself because one of his goals is to make things as good as he can so to attract and allure the people of God away from serving him, away from obeying him into what seemingly looks like a good thing and the best way and the easiest way and a pleasing way and a satisfying way and a gratifying way to do what? To get us away from Almighty God. His strategy is absolutely superb.

He's not going to change it because it's been successful ever since he came on the face of this earth and disobeyed Almighty God. Well, I think also that oftentimes soldiers fall because we don't know where the mines are. Listen, we're walking through a minefield. Every single believer walks through a minefield every day. You think about all the things that are out there to detract us, to deceive us, to cause us to be destroyed. People say, well, a little bit of this never hurts you. Listen, a little bit of pornography or a whole lot of pornography, it's like a landmine, it'll destroy you.

Whether it is alcohol, drugs, pornography, sensuality, you name it. It is pure satanic garbage and when people reach and buy that, spend their money for that, people spend their money for that but can't give a tithe to God. Spending your money on garbage when you ought to be giving it to God, you know what you've done?

You have been allured by Satan into the misuse of God's money for garbage and trash. When I think about how he works, I think about the fact that a lot of people, they don't show up for training. They've not been trained, they don't show up for training.

You know what this is? This is a worship service. That's exactly what it is but it's also training time because every single Sunday we open the Word of God and you see, that's God's manual for good combat.

You want to win the battle? Then keep the manual with you. When I think about people who go to church and millions of people go to church Sunday after Sunday and they don't even carry the Bible with them at all, number one. And I wonder how many people who never carry a Bible to church ever read it very much after they get home. People say, well, I have my Bible study.

Well, let me ask you this. How many people have a real systematic Bible study who never take this book to church? Now, I'm not saying you can't get to heaven without carrying your Bible to church but I just ask you a question. If your pastor does not encourage you to bring your Bible to church, why don't you ask him why he doesn't? Now, I'll get in real trouble telling you that but that's okay. Listen, if you're going to go listen to somebody talk to you for thirty minutes or forty minutes, we ought to be talking out of this book, amen?

In other words, if it's not talking out of this book, it's just somebody's opinion. This is training time. This is the time to open the manual and find out what principles is it that God wants us to hear and apply to our life today that will equip us to face this battle victoriously and come out winning next week.

That's what this is all about. We come to sing and to praise the Lord. We come to rejoice together.

Something about loving each other, being together. This is a life and death battle. And so we're all in this battle together. Nobody will ever reach any stage in their life, I don't care who they are, where they no longer need each other, need the Lord Jesus Christ, need His Word.

And this is why you and I should make this part of our daily diet. This is the manual for victory over the devil and all of his hosts and if I neglect the manual or if I neglect the training, I'm going down. And so oftentimes we ask, well, why do I fall into temptation and why do I yield and why is my life this and why is it? Because more than likely, you're just allowing Satan, listen, you're allowing toeholds, footholds, strongholds. Listen, if Satan can get just a little toehold, if he can just get just a little toehold, just one area of disobedience, not any big thing, just a little bit, if he can just get in there, it's like espionage, just like sending in an undercover group until they can just get a little bit of foothold, they find out what's going on, then they get a stronghold.

Before long, what happens? Down we go because Satan got in. When the Spirit of God warns us, don't do that, you're giving Satan a toehold in your life, we ignore that, what happens?

That toehold becomes a stronghold and then we have a major problem in our life. So why do people suffer? Why do we go through a lot of stuff? Why do we fail? Why do we sin against God? Why do we falter so many times?

Because these very things that I've mentioned. We are soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to understand who the enemy is and how he works. We need to understand this is a battle. We need to be dressed for the battle which he describes in this passage.

We need to understand what the manual says. We need to be in training. We don't need to listen to the propaganda of the devil. We don't need any of that. We need to walk unitedly together, standing firm and standing strong as the people of God. Thank you for listening to Preparations for Warfare. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-15 02:31:55 / 2023-05-15 02:41:17 / 9

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