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Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

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We Are In a Spiritual Battle
Ephesians 6:10-12

            A recent movie caught my attention – it is called The Devil Insidewhich is about a daughter who is trying to figure out whether her mother is mentally ill or demon possessed. 
Her mother confessed to brutally killing three people. 20 years later, her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) seeks to understand the truth about what happened that night. She travels to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Italy where her mother has been locked away to determine if her mother is mentally ill or demonically possessed. When she recruits two young exorcists (Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth) to cure her mom using unconventional methods combining both science and religion, they come face-to-face with pure evil in the form of four powerful demons possessing Maria.

Maybe some of you remember the movie the Exorcist which was based on a 1971 novel. The Exorcist was about a young girl that had become demon possessed and priests trying to cast out the demons.  The movie impacted our society and culture. Many folks became enamored with Satanism and in the demonic presence in our world.  This spiritual interest led many inquisitive individuals into the dark world evil spirits, including some Christians that have been lost for eternity.

Ask me if I believe in evil spirits / demons.  Ask me if I believe that Satan exists.  If I were texting you an answer it would be YES and YES.  Am I losing my mind? No but Satan would like me to classified as a nut case. 
Is there a spiritual warfare going on?  Absolutely  

Normally I don’t like to spend much time on the opposition but to win a game or a battle you have to know your opponent’s tactics.  So this morning we are going to look at the adversary of all Christians - Satan.  Listen as Carl reads from Ephesians 6.

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

C.S. Lewis wrote: There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils.  One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them.  They (the demons/devils) themselves are equally pleased by both errors… (Srewtape Letters)

            God’s highest priority is evangelism – winning others over for Christ.  Satan highest priority is to stop Christians from sharing their faith and leading another person to Christ. His second highest priority is to discredit us.

One thing is certain. We cannot afford to be ignorant of this spiritual war because it is waged right here and now! The enemy of our souls wants to gain control of our hearts and minds. Look at verse 12 of our text. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers.

I.    I believe and I know for certain that we are in a spiritual war and the enemy is called Satan and he has a number of other names that he goes by.  Who is Satan?  We need to know who this biblical character is.

Ezekiel 28:12-18 (NIV)
12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "'You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.

Isaiah 14:12-15 (NIV) 12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." 15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

II.   Satan, the fallen disobedient angel has the mission to rule where God rules and targets that he goes after. Terrorists have targets, Satan is no different; he is just a spiritual terrorist. These are his targets: Christ, Righteous Angels, Israel, and Believers.

III.  What are his tactics?  What is the devil’s mode of operations?  In the passage we are looking this morning Paul tells us to put on all of God’s armor so that we stand firm against the devils schemes (Eph. 6:11).  What are some of his schemes?  

Story: If I were the Devil – Paul Harvey
I would gain control of the most powerful nation in the world; I would delude their minds into thinking that they had come from man’s effort instead of God’s blessings; I would promote an attitude of loving things and using people, instead of the other way around; I would dupe entire states into relying on gambling for their state revenue; I would convince people that character is not an issue when it comes to leadership; I would make it legal to take the life of unborn babies; I would make it socially acceptable to take one’s own life, and invent machines to make it convenient; I would cheapen human life as much as possible so that the life of animals are valued more than human beings; I would take God out of the schools, where even the mention of His name was grounds for a lawsuit; I would come up with drugs that sedate the mind and target the young, and I would get sports heroes to advertise them; I would get control of the media, so that every night I could pollute the mind of every family member for my agenda; I would attack the family, the backbone of any nation. I would make divorce acceptable and easy, even fashionable. If the family crumbles, so does the nation. I would compel people to express their most depraved fantasies on canvas and the movie screens, and I would call it art; I would convince the world that people are born homosexuals, and that their lifestyles should be accepted and marveled; I would convince the people that right and wrong are determined by a few who call themselves authorities and refer to their agenda as politically correct; I would persuade people that church is irrelevant and out of date, and the Bible is for the naïve; I would dull the minds of Christians, and make them believe that prayer is not important, and that faithfulness and obedience are optional; I guess I would leave things pretty much the way they are.”

Satan’s Beatitudes

Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend even an hour once a week with their fellow Christians – they are my best workers.

Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.