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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Addressing Our Spiritual Enemies

(part 3)

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons that we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-4

To many the tearing down of a stronghold may be an intimidating idea. How do I rid myself of a stronghold in my life, marriage, home or family? How do I confront a spiritual enemy that has set itself up against me, or my family, in opposition to “the knowledge of God”? What are the weapons that Paul is talking about here in 2 Corinthians 10 that I have been given to use?

The first thing that we must firmly grasp is that not only are we equipped to face our spiritual enemies, but we are “authorized” to face them! We have been spiritually deputized by Jesus Christ:

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 28:18-19

We have been deputized, like the 12 disciples, to preach the Kingdom of God, heal the sick, cure diseases and drive out all demons. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 faithful followers with the same commission who returned to Him rejoicing and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” The badge of authority that we operate under is the “name of Jesus Christ“. Jesus affirmed this in Mark 16:15-18:

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demon; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well.”

I am reminded of the old westerns that my dad used to watch when I was a kid. A group of outlaws would rob a bank and the town marshal would gather up a posse to go after them. However, before they would ride off, he would deputize them. By doing so, they were authorized to act on his behalf and could confront, apprehend and arrest the men they were pursuing. If they had not been deputized, they would have been simply acting as vigilantes because they did carry the authority or backing of the marshal. Each man was often given a small badge that indicated that he carried the authority of and was operating under the covering of the marshal. As believers in Jesus Christ, we operate under the authority and the covering of Christ’s Name! Rooted in that authority we can then lawfully exercise God’s Word and employ the disciplines of prayer and fasting.

Pastor Scott Burr

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Addressing Our Spiritual Enemies

(part 2)

“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?”

Matthew 12:25-26

It is important to understand that not every struggle we face is demonic! Some people seem to believe that every problem they have is caused by the devil. Their car won’t start and they will call it an “attack of the enemy” when, in reality, some standard maintenance would have prevented the problem. Jesus, Himself, did not see a “demon” in every situation. Not every person Jesus healed had to have a demon driven out. Not every person with erratic behavior was demon possessed, some were told to just “stop sinning”! Still, on the other hand, there are those who make no room for the possibility that their struggle is against a spiritual enemy.

The realm of the Spirit is very real and throughout the gospels Jesus repeatedly addressed demonic activity whenever He came upon it. Such is the case found in Matthew 12:22-28, where a man who was demon-possessed was brought to Him. The man, in this instance, was blind and mute because of a demon. Jesus, recognizing this, cast out the demon and healed the man. Needless to say, this caused quite a stir among the people. However, when the religious leaders heard this they attempted to say that Jesus was driving out demons by the power of Satan. This passage of Scripture is significant in two ways. One, it rightly identifies the existence and reality of a spiritual enemy. Jesus makes it clear to us that Satan is real, he has a kingdom, and that demons and demonic activity are a part of his “household”. Secondly, Jesus uses it to educate us regarding a principle that Satan understands and will use against us if we are not discerning of it. He is keenly aware that division proceeds destruction. John 10:10 confirms that Satan’s primary objective is to steal, kill and destroy. He knows that a house divided against itself will not stand, and WILL attempt to “sow division” (through demonic activity) into our homes if given the opportunity. We must be willing to look hard at the struggles we face and acknowledge that they may be spiritual in nature.

Listen to Paul’s counsel to the church in Ephesus found in Ephesians 6:10-12:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.”

We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood! We are facing a “spiritual” force that is bent on sowing division into our homes, marriages, and families. However, by refusing to recognize it, we may eventually “demonize” our spouses, kids, co-workers, bosses and family perceiving them to be the source of our problems! Through our own ignorance, we have allowed Satan a foothold into our lives. A foothold that he desires to see become a stronghold!

Pastor Scott Burr

Addressing Our Spiritual Enemies

(part 1)

“When the servant of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my Lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid.” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servants eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

2 Kings 6:15-17

The King of Aram had sent his troops to capture the Prophet Elisha. God had been revealing the King of Aram’s plans to Elisha and, in turn, Elisha was relaying those plans on to the King of Israel. When the King of Aram found out about it, he sent his army, including his best horses and chariots to the city of Dothan to detain him. When Elisha’s servant woke up the next morning, the place where they were staying was surrounded. They were in a very real, physical dilemma. They were completely surrounded by the Aramean army.

What is significant about this passage of scripture is that, through it, we are made aware of the “spiritual component” pertaining to Elisha’s situation. Where Elisha’s servant was only aware of the “physical struggle” playing out in front of them, it is clear that Elisha was aware of the spiritual.

Like Elisha’s servant, many of us have “carnalized” our problems. We have relegated them to the “physical” while ignoring the spiritual. We have “demonized” our friends, co-workers, loved ones, and spouses; rather than addressing our very real spiritual enemies. We have done in the natural all that we know and care to do, but have largely ignored the “spiritual struggle.”

Jesus was very much aware of and addressed these spiritual struggles on a daily basis. He recognized demonic activity in people’s lives and was not afraid to address it. We see a great example of this in Mark 1:21-28. Jesus is teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum when a man possessed by an evil spirit cried out:

“What do you want with us , Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are- the Holy One of God!”

Mark 1:24

Jesus, recognizing that the man was possessed by a demon, turns to him, commands him to be silent, and then casts the demon out of him. Jesus didn’t try to ignore him, explain him away or even medicate him…He recognized the “spiritual struggle” this man was steeped in and addressed it! We, too, must recognize that the realm of the Spirit is very real and acknowledge that there are spiritual enemies that must be faced!

Pastor Scott Burr