Spiritual Warfare – Part 5

In this series, we are going to deal with the subject of spiritual warfare and bring correct, biblical teaching to this often-misunderstood subject.

As a point of reference, we will be referring to content from the following books:

Dressed to Kill
by Pastor Rick Renner


The Triumphant Church
by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin

  • We must always remember that the real battle with Satan was won at the Cross and the resurrection by Jesus Christ.
  • We must approach spiritual warfare from a place of already obtained victory (by Jesus) instead of trying to get the victory.

There are three different aspects to spiritual warfare:

  • Taking control of our minds
  • Crucifying the flesh
  • Dealing with the enemy
  • Whatever the devil does, Jesus wants to match that attack with an even greater blessing and victory in your life!
  • Most battles are fought and won because we are faithful to heed the Holy Spirit’s warnings to deal with some area of our lives before it got out of control.

We see Paul write in Ephesians 6:

Ephesians 6:10 NKJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

The word “finally” in the Greek language lets us know there might have been a problem in this early church.

The word “finally” in the Greek language means the familiar saying, “If you don’t get anything else out of what I am saying to you, get this…”

Why would he have said this?

The believers in this church were not unlike a lot of believers today. They had gathered a vast amount of doctrinal knowledge, information and facts, yet they were still defeated in their lives.

Could it have been that they were spiritually lopsided?

They were mature and developed in the realm of doctrine but had failed to develop in other critical areas.

As the Early Church leaders developed, analyzed, and taught sound doctrine inside the church at large, they also needed to equip the saints to deal with the hostile surroundings outside the church.

While the Ephesian believers were growing in their intellectual understanding of the Word, they needed to simultaneously grow in their understanding of spiritual armor and spiritual conflict.

The needed to start acting on the knowledge they had obtained.

  • They needed to learn how to take their intellectual understanding of the Word of God and turn it into a “sword of the Spirit.”
  • They desperately needed to grab hold of the faith they intellectually possessed and turn it into a “shield of faith.”
  • Their knowledge of salvation had to be forged into a “helmet of salvation.”
  • Their understanding of God’s marvelous grace still needed to be transformed into a “breastplate of righteousness.”

Ephesians 6:10 NKJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

“Brethren” – Greek: adelphos

Means: “You and I are brothers! We came out of the same womb of humanity. We have the same feelings; we have similar emotions; and we deal with the same problems of life…”

Paul was identifying with these believers and their personal struggles and their victories.

In Greek culture, to call someone “brother” like this was a high honor. It was saying, “Like me, you are still in the fight and are giving it your best shot. Therefore, I am personally proud to be affiliated with people like you.”

It isn’t how well we fight that really counts in life. What really counts is that we keep on fighting.

This “never give up” kind of attitude will eventually produce victory for us every time.

Ephesians 6:10 NKJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

“Strong” – Greek: en-dunamis – Means: being infused with and excessive does of dynamic inner strength and ability

We are specifically designed by God to be receptacles of His divine power.

Paul used the present passive imperative tense in these words.

He was commanding them to receive this power. He was commanding them to open their hearts to receive a brand-new touch of God’s power into their lives.

The passive tense describes it as an ongoing, lasting effect of this power upon their lives.

Paul was commanding all believers to:

    • “Be infused with supernatural strength and ability.”
    • “Be empowered with this special touch of God’s strength.”
    • “You must receive this inner strengthening.”

Why was he so emphatic about this? Because he knew that we need to receive this power before our fight commences.

Without the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit operating in us, not one of us can ever be a match against Satan’s schemes and devices.

Satan is intelligent, keen, brilliant, canny, cunning, quick, brainy and shrewd. He is strong, capable, influencing, and determined. He is a wise strategist, orderly planning and arranging systematic assaults against humanity. He is the epitome of an opportunist, knowing when to strike with his destructive power.

When the Holy Spirit’s supernatural strength is released within us, we are empowered to deal victoriously with this archenemy of the faith.

Yes, it is true that Jesus stripped him of his authority but his intelligence is very much still intact.

This is superhuman power for a superhuman task!

In Greek culture, this word “endunamoo” would have been used in Greek writings for someone like Hercules who demonstrated superhuman strength.

Our only hope of reinforcing Jesus’ victory and demonstrating Satan’s defeat is by receiving the help of the special, supernatural power.

Ephesians 6:10 NKJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

This phrase in the Greek is showing us the “locative” sense and means that this special power can only be found in one place: in the Lord.

We are perpetually, endlessly, and infinitely “locked up” in the Person of Jesus Christ. He has become our realm of existence and habitation.

This power can only be obtained through a personal relationship with Jesus.

We see this same tense used by Paul repeatedly in Ephesians 1: “In Christ…”

Because we are “locked up” in the Lord and this power is “locked up” in the Lord, that means we are never far away from a fresh surge of superhuman power into our own human spirits.

A new release of God’s power within us is as accessible as our very next breath of air!

To experience God’s ever-available, ever-accessible power, you must open your heart to it and ask that it be released in your life. By faith, you must reach out to embrace this special divine power, for because of your position “in the Lord,” you are surrounded by it right now. At this precise moment, you are immersed in God’s supernatural power. It is yours for the asking.

Ephesians 6:10 NKJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Power – Greek: “Kratos” – Demonstrated power

The kind of power that God used when He raised Jesus from the dead is the very same, exact, identical power that is at work in us.

To understand this power, you must go back and look at the power that God released when He raised Jesus from the dead.

This “kratos” power raised Jesus from the dead! This was an eruptive power, a demonstrated power, and outwardly visible power. It was the strongest kind of power known to God or man.

The only being in the universe that possesses this kind of power is God. Man does not possess this power – unless it has been given to him by God!

This power is so mighty and overwhelming, the mighty Roman soldiers assigned to guard Jesus tomb fainted and crumbled underneath it.

Matthew 28:2-4 NKJV And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. (3) His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. (4) And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

It also caused the graves of others to be opened and raised others from the dead.

Matthew 27:52-53 NKJV and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; (53) and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

This same power is what Paul prayed we would get a revelation of in his prayers for the Ephesians:

Ephesians 1:19-20 NKJV and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (20) which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

God does not give us “kratos” power so we can sit idly by and do nothing in life. This power comes to enable us to accomplish some type of super-human task.

This power in us seeks to demonstrate itself.

When we have this power at our disposal, the devil is no match for us. We are well able to overcome his strategies with the armor God has provided.

Paul knew that he had to address the issue of power before ever discussing warfare with unseen forces or the armor of God.

Why? Because without this power operating in us our spiritual lives, we can’t engage in battle with the enemy. We cannot stand against the deeds of darkness in our own strength – it’s an impossibility.

Ephesians 6:10 NKJV Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Might – Greek: “ischous” – conveys the picture of an extremely strong man such as a body builder, a man who is able; a man who is mighty; or a man with great muscular abilities.

Paul applies this picture to God – not to himself.

    • Is there anyone more powerful than God?
    • Is there anyone more able than God?
    • Is there any force in the universe equal to the muscular ability of God?

With God’s outstretched arm:

    • He flung the universe into being
    • An entire period of civilization was wiped out in the flood
    • Sodom and Gomorrah were forever wiped off the face of the earth
    • Egypt’s rebellion against God was crushed and the children of Israel were set free
    • The Red Sea was split in two while the children of Israel passed through and then crashed down on the Egyptians
    • The wicked powers of the heavenlies were forcibly shoved aside and, although it was physically and medically impossible, Jesus was conceived and miraculously born from a virgin’s womb.
    • His power surged into the caverns of hell itself and ripped Jesus out of the pangs of death, stripping principalities and powers naked and making a public display of the embarrassing defeat.
    • On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came rushing in and filled the disciples with awesome power, supernaturally empowering them to preach the Word with signs and wonders.
    • One day He will return and split the eastern sky and come to earth, defeat the great armies of the earth, set up His Kingdom and rule and reign forever

This is the same mighty arm of God that is working throughout the earth. Where is His powerful, able, mighty muscular ability working today? In you and me!

One expositor accurately translates Ephesians 6:10 this way:

“…Be strong in the Lord and in the powerful, outwardly demonstrated ability that works in you as a result of God’s great muscular ability.”

Ephesians 6:11 NKJV Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Paul is using the imperative tense in this text. This means he is not making a suggestion; rather he is issuing the very strongest kind of command that can be given.

We have a choice – we can reject Paul’s command, or we can accept it and do it.

Ephesians 6:11 NKJV Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

This verse can be accurately translated, “Put on the whole armor that comes from God…

Just as we draw our life, our new nature, and our spiritual power from God, this spiritual armor also comes from God as well.

The Armor of God is ours by virtue of our relationship with God!

In other words, Paul wanted us to know that this armor originates in God and is freely bestowed upon those who continually draw their life and their existence from God.

As long as our fellowship with the Lord is unbroken, the Power Source for our spiritual weaponry also remains intact. Your unbroken, ongoing fellowship with God is your absolute guarantee that you are constantly and habitually dressed in the whole armor of God.

Ephesians 6:11 NKJV Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

This phrase comes from the Greek Word “Dunamis”. When we are equipped with the whole armor of God, we have explosive and dynamic power at our command!

To stand means in the spirit we are standing in an upright and victorious position as a Roman Soldier would stand.

It also means that in a military sense, we are to maintain a critical and strategic military position over a battlefield.

We are to stand guard over the battlefields of our own lives.

(Like the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery)

You must stand guard over the will of God for your life!

Maintain a critical position over the assignment that God has given you until it is completed. You must determine that you will not give the enemy an inch.

The most important battlefield of your life is your mind!

There are three words that we all need to know in studying spiritual warfare:

    • Wiles
    • Devices
    • Deception
    1. The word “wiles” comes from the Greek word “methodos”, and it literally means “with a road” or “on a road.”

The enemy does not have as many tricks as he wants us to believe he does.

What Paul is saying to us is that the enemy travels one road, one lane, or one avenue. In other words, he primarily has only one trick in his bag, but he has learned how to use that one trick very well.

If the devil operates on one single avenue, what is the destination that diabolical road is headed toward?

2 Corinthians 2:11 NKJV (11) lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

    1. The word “devices” is the Greek word “noemata” and denotes the insidious plot of the enemy to fill the human mind with confusion.

Another way of saying this is that it bears the notion of “mind games”.

“…we are not ignorant of the mind games that Satan tries to pull on us…”

The devil loves to make a playground out of people’s minds!

He delights in filling their emotions and senses with illusions that captivate their minds and ultimately destroy them. Like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, we must bring every thought to the captivity of Christ.

We must make a mental decision to take charge of our minds. We must stop listening to ourselves and start speaking to ourselves.

We must speak to our emotions and senses dictating to them exactly what to believe.

The enemy knows that whoever controls a person’s mind also controls that person’s health and emotions.

If we do not renew our minds and yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our souls, it will be only a matter of time before a solid stronghold of deception begins to dominate and manipulate his self-image, his emotional status, and his overall thinking.

    1. Deception occurs when a person believes the lies that the enemy has been telling him.

For instance, the devil may assault your mind by repeatedly telling you that you are a failure. As long as you resist the demonic allegations, they can and will exert absolutely no power in your life.

The moment someone begins to accept Satan’s lies as truth is the very moment those wicked thoughts and mind games begin to produce the devil’s reality in his life.

When you embrace the devil’s mind games and perceive them as truth, you give power to them!

We begin to put faith in those lies and give them power to create that reality in our lives. The believers’ false perceptions empower the lies, and the devil uses those false beliefs to create his reality in the natural realm in their lives.

Example of Goliath and his Mind Games:

1 Samuel 17:1-11 NKJV Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. (2) And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. (3) The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. (4) And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. (5) He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. (6) And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. (7) Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. (8) Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. (9) If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” (10) And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” (11) When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

1 Samuel 17:16 NKJV And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening.

The devil wants to take you captive and destroy you with the same tools Goliath used against the Israelites. Satan wants to ruin your effectiveness with deceptive suggestions and lying allegations!

Once you pull the plug on Satan’s intimidating threats and lies, he will no longer be able to hold your mind captive. Learn how to SPEAK God’s truth to yourself rather than LISTEN to the enemy’s lies.

The enemy works just as Goliath did, striking repeatedly every day several times a day.

David was not afraid of the Philistine Giant – he was annoyed by Goliath’s verbal arrogance! We must get to this same place. We must grow annoyed at the arrogance of our adversary to constantly malign us with his taunts and lies like David.

Before the giant’s threats had an opportunity to take root in his soul and produce paralyzing fear, David spoke forth his declaration of war against the enemy!

1 Samuel 17:45-47 NKJV Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (46) This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. (47) Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

The name “Devil” comes from the Greek word “diabolos” and means the repetitive action of hitting something again and again, until the wall is so worn down that it can be thoroughly penetrated.

Make up your mind today that you are someone he will not be able to “wear down” until he can “pave a road” into your mind and confuse your emotions with “mind games.” You are not going to be able to be “deceived” until you believe his threats and false perceptions and cause them to become a reality in your life!