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January 25, 2021 8:00 pm
Dr. Sam Horn begins a doctrinal series about Satan entitled “Our Ancient Foe.” The scripture is Ephesians 6:10-13.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were beginning a study series entitled our ancient foe, which is a study of Satan.
The reality of his presence and how Christians can be victorious against him. Let's take our Bibles this morning to Paul's letter to the Ephesian believers letter of Ephesians and will go to the six chapter very familiar portion of Scripture to many of you I thought a lot about this passage as the summer went by and we were preparing those of us who are preaching in the series for the series and the topics were signed and are very excited about those topics I think will be exactly what what my own heart needs as I think about this and we sat down for a period of time and we walked through the series together and then we spent about 30 minutes praying together and it was during that prayer time that I began to realize that the series that were talking about isn't just a theological topic that we need to think about from time to time in her life. It is actually the pervasive environment of our life. When you got up this morning and when I woke up this morning and we went about the part of our day that we spent getting ready and then we went out to class or whatever it is that you did early in the morning you entered a realm of conflict.
I don't think I think about that conflict every day. I've been a believer, probably for as long as or more as many of you been alive and in some of you have been believers for 20 or more years and in some of you for 15 years or more and we don't typically think of our life as a war zone after our salvation.
This weekend I had the opportunity to travel out to Salt Lake City to be with a group of men who four years ago are called of God to go to Salt Lake City and start a church gospel grace church and I had the privilege of meeting with about 25 pastors in that region who came to that church on Saturday afternoon or Saturday morning rather than we had a conference together and and it was sort of an enriched conference that they do every year twice a year and and I was privileged to come out there this year to be with them and as I was with those men. And as I was talking with those men. I became aware that those men live very very and in a very, very real war zone fact when you get off the airport or out of the airport in Salt Lake City and you're thinking about that congregation of believers on Sunday morning. There were 297 I think people that gathered together to worship and that congregation that you think about what they're doing in that city.
And as you fly over that city and you come into the airport and you look out and you see this temple that is been erected in the very heart of the city and then you go to the outskirts of the city and you go to a little hill called & Hill, where the founder of one of the founders of that church or that community that temple stood at the top of that mountain and decided that this was the city where they were to build that temple and that was to become the heart of their belief system and now some 16 million people around the world of embraced it, you begin to realize that in that place there is a war that is going on and I have been there before I I have got on that plane and and landed there and felt that conflict and and then after a been done got on the plane to come back here and it's almost in my mind that you leave the conflict there. But as we were praying in that room together a week and 1/2 ago it became very real to me that the fact is we exist in a context of a fierce spiritual battle that is happening all around us. It is happening all the time it is happening at every level in every dimension. It is a pervasive and intrusive conflict. And what's interesting about this is that conflict is being led by an ancient enemy of God who is relentless. He's ruthless.
He is absolutely committed to stopping at nothing to destroy the work of God that is happening in you and me right now. Now we know from Scripture that he's a defeated foe. We know because we've read the end of the story we come to the book of Revelation and we already know what his doom is but in the middle of that reality from his defeat to his doom. There is a war that is being waged by this individual and all of his forces and they are desperate to undo the work of God that is happening in you and the work of God that God desires to do through you to make a difference for his glory. So I think that it's helpful and necessary for us to take time to talk about this unseen war. This invisible war. I think what's most surprising to me about my own life is that I hardly ever think about this for I mean I know it's there. I've read it. Ephesian six have actually preached Ephesian six numbers of times in different contexts throughout the ministry that I've enjoyed from the Lord, and you probably read Ephesians 6, you know, you've heard about the devil. You've heard about this war. But the reality is, for me, at least I don't think about this war very often and so it comes often as a shock when I get seriously wounded by the enemy in a battle that I didn't even realize was going on. Sometimes we only think about the war when it's too late when we been wounded are we been destroyed by an attack that came our way from the salon were doing this semester is talking about this invisible war that has very visible effects on our lives, relationships, and on our souls and that happens in the very mundane affairs of our life.
This battle is actually raging. As you sit in this room right now. It'll be raging this afternoon when you had to English class or history class or it will rage when you're at the dining hall and you're taking your meal or when you're with your friend or or whatever you're doing today. That battle is raging. So this semester we want to take time to really hunker down and look at the battle and mostly to understand the file that is coming against us and the primary place where the Bible gives us information about this is in the text that is before so I'd like to read these four verses together and you will see as we read the verses, the broad outline of the series. For example, we need to know about the conflict to me if where if we really can understand what's happening around us. There has to be some context that comes into our life and so they'll be one or two sermons. This one, and one more that will set the context for this battle that we're working to see here in these four verses we also need to understand something about the enemy and his tactics and you can see that described here in the context of these four verses, you'll notice that part of the series will involve sermons that talk about an amazing protection that the Lord has given to every one of us that will will guarantee that we will stand in the day when we come face-to-face with that enemy who is doing battle against us to dishonor the Lord so there's a protection that is found in these verses and there will be some sermons in the series that are directed to that. There also strategies that God lays out by which we are to wage war.
In this battle. In this conflict and you'll see that in these work verses as well and then the final messages of the series are the most wonderful messages because they talk about the outcome. They talk about the victorious outcome that God has ordained against the fellow that is already been defeated and that the Scripture tells us is doomed. So let's read these verses together and then let's come quickly to understand for important descriptions that God lays out in this text for us as we think about our age info in the battle that is raging around us. Paul says in verse 10. Finally, my brother and be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might see can already see that were talking about a conflict here put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil then you talk about what that looks like and explain the nature of this conflict, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places and then in verse 13 we have the tactic laid out wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and then here is the immediate instruction for each of us, and having done all the Lord's having done everything that I just told you that I just wrote to Paul says, having done this to stand. So as we come to this text. Let's begin by looking first of all, at a description that Paul gives about the pervasive nature of the conflict around us and that description is given in verses 10 through 11, and one of the things I can immediately see if you like your I go back to verse 10, 11, one of the things you immediately see is that there that this is a very real conflict.
This is not an imaginary conflict. This is not something that is happening in an invisible realm, but but really doesn't have any impact. It's just something that that Paul is writing to kinda help us understand that that there are these two opposing forces and were gonna have to end up on one side or the other. He is actually describing a very real conflict that is happening right now in our lives.
And there are two things in verse 10 it in verse 11 that make that very clear for us and actually verse 12.
Notice that the word against appears six times in verse 10, 11 and 12 if it occurs in verse 11. At the end of the verse where we are told that there is a strategy there is something that will help us stand against the wiles of the devil. So we have the idea that the devil is coming against us was something and then we see it in verse 12. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers rulers of this darkness of the darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places. So Paul is repeating a word six times in these verses that is designed to get you thinking about the fact that there is an enemy.
There is a fellow who is coming against you and the way that he is coming is the second thing that we see in this section of this paragraph and it's in the word wrestle that word wrestle that you see in verse 12 this is the only place in the New Testament where that particular word occurs and it's a word that describes two opponents coming and fighting close and with one another and the objective of this portion of the combat is for one of them to put his hand on the other, for the purpose of of bringing his opponent down and doing harm doing physical harm to his opponent God is saying to you that this battle that we're talking about that Paul is describing here is not going to be thought, it is not a battle that you can comfortably fight from a distance the enemy that is being described here are ancient foe is coming against you in a very personal way, and he is coming to put his hand on you, in an effort to destroy you to distract you to disarm you the distance you entered this grace of God in the process. So this is a very intimate and intense and close battle.
It's describing a hand to hand contact. We have an Old Testament example of this in the story of Job. Here is a man very much like some of you in this room who lived his entire life with a heart for the Lord. Sometimes I think we look at Job and we almost think that he was a unique man and nobody else can ever rise to that level. But I think the reason for the story of Job. At least one of them is to tell us what happens to people who honestly and and intentionally live their life with an intentional objective of pleasing God, and that's what very very many of you in this room are doing. You may not be doing it perfectly. There are many places in each of our lives. Where were God's word is continuing to sanctify us, but but I honestly believe that the vast majority of us in this room. The vast majority of people that are seated in this room are people who in their heart desire to please the Lord.
They desire to serve the Lord and to the best of their ability. They are issuing evil just like Job was. And Satan came to God and said to God, I would like to have Job because everybody here knows why he serves you. Everybody gets sick and frankly if that were the way it was for everybody and everybody would serve you so there's no question there's no reason for us to wonder why Job serves you, and God says to to Satan after calling his attention sick.the Job says the Satan you can do anything you want to him.
You just can't take his life and through a series of encounters.
Satan comes to Job, and puts his hand against Job to tear Job down. Now the point of that illustration for us this morning is that exactly is the very thing that Satan is doing to many of and that is his desire for us. There are some of you in this room right now. You have become the target of this enemy, and he has a plan that he is cunningly devised to come against you. So one of the things that we see here is that this is a very real conflict in the notice. In these paragraphs that were told a little bit about the realm of the conflict.
We wrestle not in verse 12 against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Paul wants us to know that that this is not a natural earthly conflict.
It's not the kind of war that you fight against another human enemy with human weapons in a geographic region on a field of battle. This battle this war is not a natural, temporal, visible geographical war. It is not thought. With the kind of weapons that we use in earthly conflicts is a spiritual war is happening in a realm that is every bit as real as the round that you and I live in in this very moment in this battle that is spiritual is also cosmic in impact. This is a conflict that is being sought in heavenly places. When we think of heaven. We typically think in my in our minds of a geographic location that's very far removed from us that that has a great distance from us but but the way that Paul writes about that realm is this it is a realm that coexist with this realm. Your eye just is not equipped to see it and when you think about that realm in those terms. All of a sudden passages that come in the Old Testament, particularly that are designed to give us a little Windows into that realm all of a sudden makes sense this location that that Paul is talking about when he describes the heavenly's is a realm that is every bit as written as real as this realm and it coexists with the realm that you and I exist in right now and if God would open our eyes the way he opened the eyes of Elisha service in second Kings chapter 6, you would immediately understand you would immediately see what Paul has in mind because when that servant went out, and God opened his eyes and the answer to Elisha's prayer. All of a sudden he was looking at hills and the next moment.
There were things on those hills. There were beings on those hills that it always been there but at that as I had not been able to see before and that's what Paul is talking about this battle is is a spiritual battle that is cosmic in impact and it is happening in this realm, but it has a very local expression.
It is played out in this realm in your church and your in your relationships in your family in your life. God is is at work restoring you and Satan's band on opposing and tearing down that restoration and that ultimately is the reason for the conflict. God is adopting a family of holy and blameless people. That's Ephesians chapter 1, and Satan is determined to put his hand on them.
The defiled God is calling together a body of people who are properly arranged to him and therefore properly arranged to one another and Satan wants to put his hand on their life to divide them. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 that God is building a temple for his spirit to dwell in and Satan is determined to put his hand on those living stones to defile and to desecrate the temple. So when you look at this paragraph.
The first description tells us about the reality of this conflict of this conflict, the pervasive reality of this conflict but notice in verse 12 that.
Secondly, we are we are given a description of the powerful enemy that is coming against us and we find out what we've already known that our enemy is none other than Satan another word. Satan is the word for adversary and it goes right along with the idea of this term against when you think about the fact that you come to Chapel every day, four days a week and you hear the word of God and the Spirit of God begins building things into your life. By the time you walk out of that door to the time you come back the next morning Satan has come against you with with the intent of tearing down whatever it was that God's spirit built into your life through his word and that Chapel time and we can multiply that many many times in many many different arenas and we kind of this context and and we find out some things about this enemy number one, we find out that Satan is not alone. He has an immense and powerful, and numerous Army or set of armies at his disposal. There described as principalities and powers rules of darkness.
These are these are all words that are describing ruling authorities over this present age and they are all constituting a large spiritual host or a large spiritual army that is huge. It is enumerable and it is set against us. And as we find out about this Army. They are this is an immense powerful army, but it's described this way. It is wicked. These are forces of wickedness. They are ruthless rulers of the darkness of this word. In fact, this is probably the best way to describe the character and the intention of this army of beings that is at Satan's disposal.
It's the word wicked. It's the word for porn in and it speaks to the depravity and the department diversion. The moral incapability of thinking properly or in in in ways that please God. And this kind of an army is at Satan's disposal and this is the force that is coming against you, and then noticed that this force of wicked beings have at their disposal. Many many schemes that are cunning and deceptive. You notice that in verse 11. The devil has a set of strategies whiles notice the plural of that word that are incredibly deceptive.
They are very powerfully destructive, and they have been cunningly employed throughout the history of the human race.
When I give you some examples.
He had a strategy by which he deceived our first parents. He had an strategy by which he distanced two brothers, the sons of Adam. He had a strategy by which he discouraged a prophet like Elijah had a strategy by which he attempted and caught an incredible soldier named Aiken and I went she drew away a follower of Jesus name Dimas yes strategies by which he defiles and defraud leaders like Saul and he has many, many strategies which he morally defeats people like David and Bathsheba.
So when you think about this, and you begin to get a sense of this and about you but for me, my heart says Lord if if David couldn't stand if Elijah was caught if Aiken was tempted.
If Dimas was drawn away. What hope is there for me and that's the third amazing reality that were to talk about in our series and that is this there is an incredible personal protection that is provided for us in this paragraph. Look at verse 11. Pulses put on the whole armor of God, and then in verse 13. Take unto you the whole armor of God, there is an armor that God has provided for every believer. This is this armor comes from God is. It is provided by God. It is his own armor. In fact, if you go to Isaiah chapter 11, you discover that he wears this armor. It's it's it's part of his nature. It's part of his character.
This armor is full. It is complete. When you receive it from God. You don't get partial armor when when you get it from God.
You get all of it every piece of it, and every piece is functional when God gives you this armor he gives you all of it, and none of it is defective. Whatever the armor is, if you will receive it which you have at salvation and you will take it up and wear it and use it. The effect is this you will stand there is no portion of the conflict that you will encounter.
There is no skiing or strategy of the devil that you will encounter that the armor is not equipped to handle. So the question is what is the armor really here in our series several messages that will answer that question in in a number of different ways but let me be my opinion, this is either six different things that are being described that you and I need to use or it's one thing being described in six ways. In my opinion is that the apostle Paul is talking about one thing and he is describing it. Six ways by taking the different pieces of Roman armor and showing you how the word of God functions that way.
There really is a word that will fell our ancient fellow and it's the word of God that you have in your hand. And so, as you receive that word and it is implanted in you. You can stand in that evil day, and that brings us to the final description that we have in this passage, there is this pervasive conflict that is going on around us. There is this powerful enemy that is described for us and then there is this incredible personal protection that is made available to us, but if you go to verse 13.
When you take this armor when you take this word of God and you implanted in your life.
There are some practical ways to do that. Pulses number one. Be strong. He said that back up in verse 10. Finally, my brother and be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. There is an ability that comes out of a capacity that belongs to God. God has capacity in his strength and that capacity gives you ability and it is yours.
When you become one with Christ. Your union with Christ gives you access to this power and the way that you use this power is to be armed by the weapon that God is giving you this capacity that God is extending to you that gives you ability because you are in Christ is exercised through the weapon of the word of God that defines you and advances you so Paul's final word to the believers who are in this battle is this. Be faithful to your assignment. Having done all of this having understood the conflict having understood the enemy having received the armor use it take up your weapons and stand. How do we do them maybe three things as we close in prayer. Number one, don't give up, no matter what's coming your way.
You have an armor that will stand in good stead. So don't give up.
Don't give in resist and overcome the temptations that come against you. Don't give up. Don't give in and thirdly and finally, don't give ground stand firmly and faithfully on the ground that God is reclaiming every day in your life as you encounter God in his work. Let's pray together.
Father, thank you for the opportunity to look at a passage that you put in our New Testament, not just to warn us not just to alert us not just to inform us but to give us hope and confidence and strength.
So Lord, there is an ancient fellow, but even more ancient.
There is an ancient of days, who sits on the throne and there is a son of man who presents himself to him and who has been given a kingdom and dominion, and authority over this enemy. And Lord, even as you told our first parents. This enemy will bruise his heel. But he will crush the head of this ancient phone so Lord, we rejoice in that and we ask that as we live in the meantime that we would be faithful that we would not give up and that we would not give it and that we would not give ground in our personal lives as we walk worthy in the battle and will pray these things in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Sam Horn which is part of the study series about our ancient foe Satan. Listen again tomorrow as we continue the series here on The Daily Platform