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Getting Spiritual Warfare Right Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 23, 2021 1:00 am

Getting Spiritual Warfare Right Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 23, 2021 1:00 am

Jesus taught using parables, or stories. He spoke of a strong man who can’t be defeated, except by a stronger man. In Luke chapter 11, we learn that we can’t overcome evil alone, for we can only defeat Satan in the name and power of Jesus.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Jesus taught using parables or stories. He told of a strong man and a stronger man whose help is crucial in defeating the merely strong man. Today, more lessons on how we can't go it alone. We can only defeat Satan in the name and power of Jesus. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, do you believe spiritual warfare is on the increase in our day?

Dave, I think that the answer is absolutely yes. And you know, the fact is that there are plenty of spiritual battles going on that we are unaware of. I'm reminded of the story of Elisha when he was there at Dothan. You remember, he prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant, and the servant's eyes were opened and he noticed that they were in the midst of a spiritual battle, and we are also. But we here at Running to Win are totally committed to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ.

We're constantly pointing people to him. You know, we're in the midst of a challenge, that is to say a matching gift challenge. Some of our friends have said that they are willing to match everything given to $90,000.

Now that means that your gift will be doubled. Would you consider joining us? Here's what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com.

Or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. We're looking forward to many more members joining what I like to call the Running to Win family. But now let us listen carefully. So Jesus said that there's a strong man, and you and I know how strong he is, very strong. He is Satan. But now thankfully in this parable there's another man, and you'll notice it says that Jesus said that there is another man when a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe.

Ah, thank God for verse 22. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. The only way you can have freedom from this strong man is to have a stronger man come and overtake him and overtake his armor and weaken him so that you can walk away free.

You need outside help though. You can't get from darkness to light on your own. You need somebody stronger than the kingdom of darkness.

And I'm here to announce to you something that I hope you already know. In Colossians chapter 2 verse 15 it says this, that when Jesus died he disarmed all principalities and powers and made a show of them openly triumphing over them in it. Jesus did that. He spoiled the devil.

He took away his armor. And how did Jesus do that? He did it by invading that kingdom of darkness and saying I'm invading the kingdom in a rescue mission and I'm going to turn these captives who are in condemnation and I am going to turn them from condemnation to something much more blessed, namely restoration. So that instead of being condemned they will be restored, reconciled to God.

And then instead of being accused I am going to vindicate them. And who shall lay any charge to God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemned?

It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again and is even now on the throne of God who also makes intercession for us. And I will vindicate them and I will no longer charge them with their sin, no longer condemnation but restoration, no longer accusation but vindication, no longer slavery but service, and no longer a hell but heaven. And so Jesus emerges victorious.

I like to visualize it this way. We're in the hands of the strong man but a stronger man by the name of Jesus says to that strong man let go of them and he has to drop them immediately because he's been confronted by a man stronger than he. Somebody who can bring deliverance by the finger of God and Satan has to submit to that authority, to that power, and to that purity and glory.

And you and I walk free. Now Jesus talked about the strong man then he speaks about a stronger man namely himself who is able to bind him and take away his armor, the armor of condemnation, the armor of accusation, and and Jesus disarms him. But then Jesus tells a story which perhaps is another parable. I think it's connected with this one. Jesus says in verse 24, when the unclean spirit has gone out of a person it passes through waterless places seeking rest and finding none. It says I will return to my house from which I came and when it comes it will find the house swept put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself and they enter and dwell there and the last state of that person is worse than the first.

What an awful terrible story. Now whether Jesus is actually referring to a person who had this experience or not we aren't sure. I think that in context he probably is referring to the nation Israel first of all for that interpretation.

Because you see the nation Israel had all the truth and initially during the preaching of John the Baptist they responded. But for many of them their response was half-hearted and so after that it seemed as if the demons were cast out, figuratively speaking. The demon wanders in waterless places. Why waterless?

Desert. You know demons prefer bodies to dwell in and that's why they were even sent into the pigs and the pigs ran into the river and drowned into the water and drowned and of course after the pigs drowned the spirits again were seeking a place to go. So Jesus says that the spirit wanders about looking for a place to go and then it notices that this person's life is empty and in fact it's swept and it's garnished. I mean it's it's it's all ready for someone else to enter and he finds the house swept and in order and more spirits come he gets seven more wicked spirits and and they come and the latter end of that man is far worse than his beginning. What Jesus is saying in the strongest possible language is this that an empty life is a life in peril.

If you think for example that your life is simply staying away from certain sins and your life is not being filled with the things of God it could well be that your ending will be far worse than your beginning even in your walk with God and we have examples of that don't we as we think back over people we have known who at one time walked with God their lives were emptied and then something happened and their ending was terrible. Now this is leads me to a principle that sometimes I like to emphasize. The Bible speaks about the renewing of the mind and it talks about the need for us to fill our minds with Scripture. If your mind is not being renewed and filled with Scripture it is empty and very much a place where evil can originate and where those thoughts of evil can again control you and so there's the principle of replacement. If I were to have a pitcher of water here there's one way that you could take air out of it you could build a machine that would suck the air out.

The other possibility is to simply fill it with water and then the air will take care of itself and when it comes to the renewing of the mind so many of our struggles happen because we are empty and an empty life is a very vulnerable life when it comes to satanic activity and doing evil, very vulnerable. Let me give you an example. A number of years ago a friend of mine by the name of Tom, his wife, though he was later remarried, his first wife died of cancer and she was just at home and she went through a terrible amount of suffering.

You know those awful stories. And yet Tom wasn't bitter at God and nor was his wife bitter. They accepted it as from God's hand.

So I said to him, Tom, I said, how did you do this? Because I've seen so many people become bitter and angry even with God and unable to accept this. He said what we did is he said we bought the New Testament on records and he said we played it so the Word of God was in our home every day. We read the Bible a lot and then he said this, and God's Word and God's promises squeezed all of the anger and the resentment and fear out of our hearts.

What a beautiful example of someone who discovered the principle of replacement. If you simply say to yourself I'm going to accept this or not accept it and your life is empty, all kinds of evil grows in an empty life and Jesus is warning about a negative life that just says I won't do A, B, C, D and then does not fill itself with God and its promises. So beware of an empty life.

It is the devil's workshop. Now where does all this leave us? Why should these passages of Scripture and these two parables, why should they transform us?

I want to make a couple of observations. The first is this, that do you notice how it's impossible to be neutral about Jesus? Because you see there are only two kingdoms. There's the kingdom of darkness and there's the kingdom of his dear Son as we find out in the book of Colossians.

The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light and today everyone who is listening to this message is in one kingdom or the other. Those of you who are neutral about Jesus, you say well you know I admire him, he's a great teacher, he's a great this and that. Those of you who are neutral about him, you're actually, I'm sorry to say and I want to say this lovingly, but you're siding with the kingdom of darkness. Jesus said that there very clearly in verse 23, whoever is not with me is against me. So I have to ask you at least are you with Jesus?

Are you with Jesus? And then he says and whoever does not gather with me scatters. What a wonderful example of what the devil does. He wants to scatter, he wants to divide families, he wants to divide people, he wants to divide churches, he wants to divide you even to be at war within yourself so that you can't stand to live with yourself anymore. He is a being of division. So you can't be neutral. That's why I invite you to believe on Jesus today and be saved and to say no longer am I going to be neutral. We sang a few moments ago I've decided to follow Jesus but the first step in doing that is to admit in humble repentance that you need a savior to translate you from darkness into light but you can't be neutral.

Secondly, how do we apply this in our lives? It is by recognizing that we need to stay close to the stronger man because here's what happens. Even though Jesus disarmed Satan and all of his authority, Satan is out on bond today.

His sentence has been commuted. He knows that it's hellfire, deservedly so. He knows that his judgment is absolutely secure but for reasons that we can't go into this morning, God has still allowed him to have a measure of authority. He's still spoken of in the New Testament as the God of this world even though he is defeated legally and in other ways and if you and I do not stand against him, he will come after our families, after our own lives, after our churches and he will want to bring darkness and division instead of unity and hope. Parents, I'm talking to you now, do not let Satan steal your children from you, all right? And you can only do that by filling your own life with the word of God and it isn't enough to simply fill your children with the word of God, getting them to memorize lots of verses, though that's good and necessary.

Ultimately, it's going to be your relationship with your children and not what has been put into their minds in terms of truth and that is important to do but it's going to be your relationship with your children, your humility, your willingness to admit that you are wrong, your willingness to be in favor and to rejoice in the success of other family members rather than tearing them down and bringing the kind of division and the scattering that Satan does and that only comes, the victory only comes by vigilance. It comes by what we call warfare praying, putting on the armor of God as it says in the book of Ephesians because after all we don't wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness. Do you notice all of the categories there because of the way in which Satan is so well organized? I have no doubt that he has some of his minions assigned to you, hoping that there will be opportunities for you to destroy your life even in a moment of time. Opportunities for you is what he would want is to convince yourself that darkness actually is preferable to light or that darkness is light and those deceptions are the ones that he wants to bring into our lives. The Bible says in the book of James, resist the devil and that's not easy.

It's not something you can just do in a moment of time though you do it in a moment of time but it is a lifestyle. Resist the devil and he will flee from you and there are times I believe when we have to go into the kingdom of darkness to rescue those children through our prayers, through our intercession, and our own connection with them and we need to say Satan you can't have what you want in this home. Jesus, the stronger man, has triumphed and we depend upon him to crush the tempter because he took his heel and he took the head of the serpent and he grounded, grounded into the gravel like this and won a victory. Aren't you glad today that we have a stronger man than Satan?

I love to tell the story, evidently true. In one of our museums here in America there is a painting and the painting was made and it is entitled playing chess with the devil and in the painting and if you know anything about chess you'll understand this much better that actually I have to throw this in I have an 11 year old grandson who beat me at chess the other day just totally wiped me out. But if you if you know how chess is played what it said is playing chess with the devil and the devil is announcing checkmate in three moves because you know how you can think through what all the moves on all the options are. Paul Morphy some of you perhaps have heard of him I think you can go online and learn about him a great chess player looked at that painting and stared at it and began to think about moving this piece or moving that piece and then he said young man there's a move you can make.

The painter had overlooked a possibility and it wasn't checkmate in three moves. Today the devil says checkmate and we say I say to you today there's a stronger man in the room and there is a move we can all make. And we can say get me behind me satan for it is written you'll not have me you'll not have my spouse you'll not have my children because the kingdom of light is stronger than the kingdom of darkness. So no matter where you are today on the continuum some of you in the kingdom of darkness I urge you to receive Christ as savior he'll translate you into the kingdom of light. Some of you are in the kingdom of light but you're walking as if you're in the kingdom of darkness submitting to the devil in so many subtle unrecognized ways when in our hearts and in heaven today there is a stronger man who spoiled the works of the evil one. Would you join me as we pray? Father we're just being honest here as we confess that so often we have given in sometimes even deliberately to that evil ruler called satan.

We've listened to his demons we've listened to his temptations and we've said to ourselves that this way seems best for now. Father deliver us from the deceptions that we so gladly accept and show us ourselves show us Jesus and may we be absolutely convinced that his triumph is secure it is eternal and it is finished. Before I close this prayer what do you have to say to God today no matter who you are no matter where you're listening whether on the internet or the radio?

You talk to God at this moment. Father the work that you've begun completed to your glory to your honor as we worship today the stronger man. We thank you that satan met his match and it's no consequence to the people of Israel.

We thank you that satan met his match and it's no contest by the finger of God he must let go. Lead us we ask in Jesus name amen. My friend this is Pastor Lutzer may I speak to your heart for just a moment.

You know we here at running to win and you already know this we exist to help you successfully across the finish line. Messages like the one that you have just heard are being listened to by thousands upon thousands of people. I have in my hand a letter from a woman who says I listen every morning on my drive to work. Pastor Lutzer's messages are just as beneficial as my breakfast for starting the day.

She goes on to say that she was not brought up in a church but these messages are transforming in her own life. We can't do this alone and right now we're in the midst of a matching gift challenge. What that means is we have some friends who have said that they are willing to match everything that is given dollar for dollar up to ninety thousand dollars. That means that your gift of twenty dollars becomes forty. Well you know what a matching gift all about.

Would you consider helping us? Here's what you do go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm convinced that there are many of you who are listening right now who have been blessed and you're saying to yourself I want to bless others.

We're in the midst of this matching gift challenge. Go to rtwoffer.com. Of course rtwoffer is all one word.

Rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Become a part of what God is doing through the ministry that he has raised up. You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. How we handle today's small tasks affects whether we're given a larger task to perform and the rewards that go with it. In a parable Jesus taught how faithfulness works and also what the perils are for our lack of it. Next time on Running to Win we look into Luke chapter 19 for a lesson on getting faithfulness right. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-13 22:39:39 / 2023-09-13 22:47:37 / 8

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