This final message in the three-part series on spiritual warfare speaks to the fact that often we forget that Christ has already won! He is the victor.
The Enemy is strong. He is a liar. His is a deceiver. He seeks to steal, kill and destroy.
But. . .he's a loser.
As Christ-followers, we often know this intellectually, but function as if it's not true. This is not to say that the spiritual battles are easy. However, we have been given insight into the Enemy's tactics. We have been shown how he is an already defeated Enemy. Yet. . .we forget?
So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. 2 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV)
So, what are these tactics? What are these "designs?"
The word "world" here refers to the organized system in opposition and rebellion to God.
For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16 (ESV)
Desires of the flesh
Desires of the eyes
Pride in possessions
Don't love. (1 John 2:15)
Don't let the world shape your values (Romans 12:2)
Live through Jesus as crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14)
The "flesh" refers to our natural tendency to put ourselves and our self-interes above God and others. So, as the world is considered the organized strategy in opposition to God, the flesh is the internal resistance to God.
Recognize you are no longer slaves to the flesh. You've been set free. (Romans 6)
Be filled with the Holy Spirit daily, walking in submission to Him. (Galatians 5:16)
Put to death sinful desires and "secret sins or addictions." (Romans 8)
The adversary is real. He is evil. His is strong. However, he is a loser.
Christ is the victor.
Back in 1959 Johnny Horton had a Grammy winning song called "The Battle of New Orleans." The lyrics started like this. . .
In 1814 we took a little trip
Along wth Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans. . .
Though a hit, it wasn't right. The Battle of New Orleans took place in 1815, not 1814. Jackson was a General, not a Colonel. In fact, the War of 1812 had really ended in the fall of 1814 when the British were defeated at Lake Champlain. Since there was no internet or cell phones at the time, the battle between the Americans and the British in 1815 war that was over. The Americans were fighting a defeated enemy.
We're have a defeated enemy.
The enemy was cursed by God and defeated in the beginning before the beginning. Then, ultimately, he was defeated at the cross when Jesus was crucified. His defeat was secured at the resurrection. There is a battle still to come, but the book has already been written on this. Satan is defeated.
Yet, many Christ-followers live defeated lives.
On ESPN they have a segment on their NFL show called "C'Mon Man!" They show a clip from a game or some other story involving an NFL player, coach or owner. These are normally outrageous clips where the focal point has done something ridiculous. The commentators then say "C'Mon Man!"
Christ-followers have been rescued. Changed. Transformed. Redeemed.
Yet. . .often those who wear the name of Christ live defeated.
They (we) listen to the lies of the Enemy.
They (we) fall prey to his tactics.
They (we) agree with the lies.
They (we) don't know what to do.
The battle has been won! Our submission to the Lord daily affirms victory. The instructions on how to battle, the details on the tactics of the enemy, the battle plan has been laid out. We have this.
It should infuriate us, or at least embarrass us, to know we allow a defeated enemy to have so much influence and power.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14(ESV)
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:13-15(ESV)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This
is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the
world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he
who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:1-4(ESV)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him
who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39(ESV)
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8(ESV)
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. Hebrews 2:14-15(ESV)
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalms 3:3(ESV)
My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. Psalm 7:10(ESV)
I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. Psalms 18:1-3(ESV)