The Devil

December 17, 2023 Preacher: Michael Clary Series: The Victory of Christ

Scripture: Ephesians 6:10–18

 It is great seeing all of you here today, and good to worship with you through Advent season.

And we are doing a series, taking a break from the book of 1 Peter, and we're doing a series on spiritual warfare called the victory of Christ over these few weeks. And we're talking about how we can experience Jesus's victory. lives over sins and temptations. It's inspired by a book called Spiritual Warfare by Carl Paine and some of the themes and subject that we'll, that we're talking about was inspired by this book.

And in this book, I'll, I'll show you This graphic here that we've looked at the last couple of weeks he shows us this idea of, there are three sources of temptation. Primarily there's the world, the flesh and the devil, and there's never a singular cause. There's this overlap of causes of temptation, but it's helpful to look at them individually so we can develop strategies for combating them.

But external temptations to sin come from the world. Internal temptations of sin arise from within our own desires. That's the flesh today. We're talking about Supernatural solicitations to sin and that's the devil Satan and demons may not be the singular cause for every sin or temptation, but there's always some Satan is always at work right now.

There's always some degree to which the, the sin and temptation that's in our lives that we encounter are triggered by either Satan demonic realm, or by just the, the world that is, that Satan controls, but these are, this is the supernatural element in sin and temptation that we're going to talk about and we talk about this Not to satisfy curiosity about demons and spirits and that sort of thing, because God has not given us access to that.

We don't see it, and that's for a reason. And God, He does not give us that knowledge directly. God does tell us that it exists. He tells us some things that are true about it. But there can be an unhealthy curiosity about the demonic realm that God does not give us access to. So, we're not doing this merely.

to satisfy curiosity. Rather, we're doing this because we are told that, that sin and temptation comes from, from Satan, from the demonic realm. And that we have, we're told to resist it, and we're told we have power over it. So that's why we're talking about this, and, and frankly, this is why I wanted to do this series to begin with, is because, and this is speculation, I'll admit, but in, in my view, these things will increase.

As Christianity declines in the Western world, there is a vacuum created that creates room for evil demonic spirits to take their place. And so, I think that there will be an increase of demonic activity and we want to be prepared for it. We don't want to be caught off guard. We want to be prepared for demonic attack.

That's why we're doing this. So, let's dig in. We're going to start in Ephesians chapter six, the whole armor of God text. Let's start in Ephesians chapter six. And we'll go from there. So, Ephesians 6:10 says this, finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. So, our, our strength is in the Lord and in his might, it's not our own strength.

So, we're strong in Christ. It is his strength put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against. The schemes of the devil. So here is why he's telling us this. He's telling us to put on the whole armor of God So we may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil So Satan has schemes he has there is attack demonic attack and we can stand against them If we follow the instructions that were given here if we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers the authorities against the cosmic powers over this present darkness against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Side note, those, all those words have specific reference points that we're not gonna get into this morning. So, this morning I'm going to speak of demons or Satan or the devil, and that those words are, that those refer to all of the different kinds of spiritual powers that are referenced here. So, there are different kinds of evil spirits that are at work in the world, but.

But for our purposes this morning, I'll talk about demons, Satan, the demonic realm. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand firm. Stand therefore having fastened on the belt of truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness and as shoes for your feet having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Pause here. The flaming darts of the evil one I don't know about you, but what comes to my mind is, you know, a couple guys standing around a dart board, and they're just shooting these little, tiny darts, and I'm like, so big deal if there's a little flame on it.

That's, that's the, the translation of the word, but the image that we should have in mind is like these archers, you know, in ancient warfare where they're, they're firing these, these long arrows and they're, they're on fire which can cause more damage. And that is, that is the imagery that we should have in our mind that Satan has got his archers and he's firing these flaming arrows at us.

And so that is the sort of assault that can be waged against us. So, we, we take up this shield of faith and the shield is a protective tool, right? It's a, it's, we, we protect ourselves from the incoming fire with a shield. And that shield is our faith. We'll talk more about that in a moment and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the spirit with all prayer and supplication.

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. This is God's word. So, we could teach a whole class on spiritual warfare in the demonic realm. And what I would rather do is spend our time focusing on strategies of fighting back and detecting the presence or the work of the enemy.

So, I want to just give you eight quick bullet points that will show up on the screen here that are assumptions that I'm making that we want to have in mind as we apply it. So, here's the eight trues, eight just things that we'll just mention here. The word devil is that refers to the whole demonic realm.

Or to Satan personally, but this is this is how the word is used this morning in my sermon. But also, you see scripture referred to the devil and his to refer to the actual person of Satan and also his host of demons. Number two, he's called the ruler of the world, but ultimately his rule is constrained by the sovereign rule of Christ.

So, he does have some authority, but his authority is under the ultimate sovereign authority of Jesus. Number three, the devil, and his demons are irredeemable, and hell bound. There's no offer of forgiveness. There's no atonement for their wickedness. They are destined for hell and that is good and glorious and right.

And God does not offer them salvation. That's their destiny. Number four, the devil seeks to oppose and destroy the work of God in the world. His primary target is, so human beings bear the image of God, he hates God and so he attacks the image of God. And that's true of all humans. But as Christians, we are redeemed humanity.

And so redeemed humanity, we bear the, you know redeemed, you know, God's image within us, you know, as saved and redeemed people. So, there was a particular focus on Christians. Number five, the devil and demons have no authority over you. In fact, Christians, we have authority over the demonic realm. We have authority over demons.

They do not have authority over us. And so, number six, as an extension of that, Christians cannot be demonized. I'm using that word for a reason because we hear of demon possession and that, that's, that's not actually, I mean, there's the, the demons cannot possess people, they don't own people, but that word is used in scripture to reference.

A person who has, who's kind of yielded their faculties, their, their, their bodies and their minds to a demonic power, but they, they're not owned by the demon. So, we would say they've been demonized, but they're not possessed by a demon in the sense they're not owned by a demon. So, Christians cannot be demonized, but we can be deceived by them or influenced by them.

Number seven, non-Christians can be demonized. And so that's what we see in the scriptures of the garrison demoniac, for example, other people that have been you know, they've possessed or demonized by an evil spirit. So, their minds and their bodies have been yielded over to some demonic power. Number eight, Christians can learn to recognize demonic influence so that we can protect ourselves.

And to help others be set free. Now, this last point, number eight is where we're going to be spending our time this morning. It is learning how to recognize demonic attack so that we can fight back. And what I want to give you are five strategies the devil uses against us, and then four tools that we can fight back.

Five demonic strategies, four tools. We have a lot of ground to cover. I preach about 50 minutes in the 9am service. So, I'm going to just set your expectation, you know, maybe slightly longer than what I normally do. But I've really tried to condense this and make it streamlined to be helpful. So, let's start with five satanic strategies, and I'll give you a couple of scriptures as we jump into this.

2 Corinthians 2:11, Paul, he's talking, this is sort of a comment that he makes at the end of a discourse about forgiveness. But he says something about not being outwitted by Satan. So, it's, he's saying like, he's taking measure to not be outwitted by Satan for we are not ignorant of his designs. So, Satan has a design, he has a strategy, and it's knowable, Paul's not ignorant of it, so he knows what Satan's strategy is, and he's taken some measure, some action, to not be outwitted by the devil.

So, these strategies that Satan uses against people, they're discernible, they're knowable, we can detect them, and we can take action to protect ourselves from them. There are five that stand out in particular, and we'll go through these in a moment, but here they are. Pain, terror, temptation, deception, accusation.

There are others. Those are five that stand out to me in my study. Here's another text. This is 2 Corinthians 2:3. Paul says, I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. So, this is what Satan's aim is.

His strategies are aimed at this. He said, just, just like he did with Eve in the garden, he deceived her by his cunning, Paul says, hey, this can happen to us too. And what it would do is, is to cause us to be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. So, to put it another way, Satan wants to, to knock you off course in your faith.

He wants to destroy your faith to where you would just apostatize or damage your faith such that you are unfruitful or ineffective in your walk with God. But that's his design is, is, is to, is to take you away, to pull you away from a pure and sincere devotion to Christ. So that's what his goal is, what he's aimed at.

And the first strategy that he uses is pain. So, Satan will use, the devil will use, physical and emotional pain to, to devote, to distract you from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. So, it'll be to get you to question God, to doubt your faith, or even to be angry at God. That's what the devil does. Now, we also know from the scripture that God will also allow pain into your life under his sovereign control to accomplish a good and righteous purpose. And that is to test you and to grow your faith. So, Satan given, given if he had just total control, he would, he would just wipe you out with just an incredible and unrelenting pain. But Satan's design is under God's sovereign power, right?

We've already talked about this. So, Satan is constrained. He's not able to do anything that he would want to do. All that he can do is, is restrained by God. And God only lets him off the leash a little bit to do what would accomplish God's ultimate purpose, but Satan has a purpose in it too. And so, whatever pain is occurring in our life is something that God has ordained to happen, and he has a good and glorious purpose in it.

So not all pain is demonic. Sometimes there's some pain that God has allowed, but Satan wants maximal pain for his own purpose. The best example we see in this in scripture is the, from the book of Job, Job is a righteous man. He was devout, upright. He loved God. But God did allow Satan to inflict pain on Job to test him.

And the strategy the devil used there was like a shock and awe strategy. Where he would just inflict him with wave upon wave upon wave of unrelenting pain. One thing right after another in rapid succession to try to overwhelm him. Now, the, the, what he did in Job's case was extreme and uncommon. The story of it is, is, is preserved in scripture.

So, so it was an unusual case that God preserved in scripture for our instruction. But the strategy is common. The demonic strategy is something that Satan will do on any of us. So let's say, you know, you're having marriage problems, you know, your wife or husband not getting along Maybe arguing a little bit things aren't going well, and then the kids get sick, but it's not all at once It's like a kid gets sick and then the next kid gets sick and then the next it's like an in succession one after another and it just kind of derails everything and everything's out of sync and Then in the middle of that you have a friend at work that betrays you.

And then in the middle of that, you have a problem at work with your boss and it's, it's affecting your income. And then after that, your car breaks down. And then after that, your heart goes out in your house. One thing right after another toward just overwhelms you to demoralize you and to make you feel as though there's no hope.

That's a demonic strategy, and whenever pain is coming at you in all directions, it might be demonic. Now, it's possible that you've been acting foolishly, and you are reaping the consequences of what you have sown. That's possible. But if you're like Job, and you've been faithfully obeying God and trying to honor Him in every way, and these things happen not because of any fault of your own, well, then that could be an indicator that there's some demonic element at work here, where the devil is trying to knock you off course, trying to demoralize you spiritually.

And what we're told, we've already read this, but Paul says, in all circumstances, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one. So, Satan is firing these arrows at you. And you've got this incoming fire all the time, and it's painful, and it's hurting you, and you're scared.

You take up your faith and the faith is a shield. Now, what is your faith? The faith is that God loves you, God created you for a purpose, He's redeemed you, He's counted you righteous in Christ, He's working something good and glorious in your life, He loves you, He's protecting you, He's going to provide for you and take care of you.

That is your faith. We can believe those things because we see those promises in Scripture. So that is our faith. So then, whenever we're experiencing the pain, we have got some ammunition, something to protect us from what we might otherwise believe is true because of the pain. That's the shield of faith, and we believe things because we're promised them and told them in scripture, even though the experiences might lead us to believe something different.

And when you recognize this, it can change how you pray, it can change how you just think about the situation, and that is how God grows you through it. You approach the trial then. As, as something, as an opportunity to demonstrate faithfulness to God. You know, there's an enemy. Your husband's not your enemy.

Your wife is not your enemy. Your kids are not your enemy. You have an enemy and you're the target. And the enemy is the devil. And so, you need to respond with, with a heart full of faith. to that trial based on what you know to be true. So, there's, there are times in, in my life and with my family, like, you know, Laura and I, well, you know, let's say we're not getting along.

We're arguing a little bit and just kind of getting on each other's nerves. And, you know, that's kind of trickling down to the kids. And it's like, everybody's just kind of annoyed with each other. And there's just, and then we're having money problems. Like, you know, like, you know, some. Some unexpected bill or something frustrating and then there's something going on with people that we care about or something going on in the church And there's just like there are times when it seems like okay there There's not a sin that I'm aware of that we need to repent of there's not a thing that we've done that would have caused This so this is not just natural So at that point, you know, we've done this a few times in our, in our lives over the years.

We'll, we'll stop it. Like, you know, like this, this, this doesn't make sense. This seems demonic. This seems orchestrated in such a way to coordinate attack and maximize pain, to inflict on us, to discourage us, to knock us off track. In our, in our Christian devotion. And when that happens, it does change our mindset.

So, before it's like, I'm annoyed at you. I'm annoyed at you. I'm annoyed at you. What's the matter with you? And there's just this conflict and hostility in the home. And then it's all like, okay, wait a minute. You're not the enemy. They're not the enemy. We have an enemy. So now you and I are allies and we've, we train our prayers and our fire and our devotion against the real enemy, which is the devil.

And now we are fighting together side by side. We're praying together. And that is, that is a way that we can, we can approach the spiritual attack by recognizing this is caused by something supernatural that is coordinated. And this is an opportunity for us to trust God and respond accordingly. So, Satan's strategy, that's he's destroy your faith.

And that's what he's trying to do. But you can also recognize God has a purpose in it. And the purpose that God is accomplishing in it is for your obedience. Number two, terror. Terror. 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul tells Timothy, For God didn't, God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.

So, Christians, there is a spirit that God has given us. And that spirit is not a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and love. Self-control. Some other translations will say self-discipline but self-control.

The most common command in the Bible is do not fear, or fear not. So, God, He is our shield and our protector, and if God is our protector, then there's nothing that can ultimately harm us, right? We have nothing to fear. Well, actually, Jesus did say there is one thing to fear. What did Jesus say? Jesus said, do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. And, of course, that's God. So, he's saying, essentially, that demons will terrorize Christians by Convincing us that they're in charge and that they have power and that they that we're subject to whatever they want. We're their mercy Jesus tells us don't fear that don't fear those who can hurt your body a little bit but can't hurt your soul rather fear God.

He has the power of both soul and body So fear God and here's the irony if you fear God and you fear God alone, then you're protected That's where you're safe You're safest when your fear is placed Properly in the one who has ultimate power and ultimate authority, you know, I thought about this this morning.

I you know, in horror movies, you think of horror movies and it's the goal of a horror movie is to scare you, right? It's like to, to elicit fear and the ones that have this demonic element. How do they present the demons? They present the demonic powers as though they have all power and that you're totally at their mercy and they can do whatever they want with you and there's nothing you can do to control it.

That's not what we see in scripture. They're presented in such a, and of course I think that there is demonic deception at work in the horror films because they want to maximize fear. They want people to fear them because they want us to think that they have control. They have authority and we must bend to them.

And so, whenever we fear them, or we fear things that we should not be fearing, then we actually end up forfeiting the protection that God has provided for us. We're not fearing the right thing. We're fearing something that really, we shouldn't fear. But fearing God is where we're protected. When our faith is placed in God and our fear is, is firmly placed with God, then that is where we're protected because he is our shield.

Here's another example. This is James four, verse seven, submit yourselves therefore to God. So, we're, we're surrendered to God completely. He is our Lord; resist the devil and he will flee from you. You know, that, that's a promise. That's a promise. We're submitted to God. We're surrendered to God. He has all power, all authority.

So, we're submitted to him. We fear him. We love him. He is our highest commitment. We resist the devil and then he's got no alternative. He must flee. He has to. He has no authority. He has no authority over you. Jesus has all authority. He has all power. He has all control. He is the one that's in charge, not the demons, not the demonic.

So, we resist him, and he must flee. He's got no alternative because that is what he is required to do. So, we need not fear demons, they have no authority over us, we have authority over them through Christ. Okay, number three is temptation. Temptation. We've already dealt with this in previous weeks, so I'm not going to unpack it much here, but I just want to just point out one thing.

Satan will tempt you with opportunities to sin, and usually, or often at least, those are shortcuts to the thing that God has promised you. So, things we, God has promised us certain things in life and Satan will tempt us to take a shortcut to get the thing that God has promised. And because it's something God has promised, then it is something, it feels right to do it.

So, take Adam and Eve in the garden. For example, Satan tempted Eve by offering her something that God would have given her. You know, God had promised her life, God promised her you know, like presumably she would have grown in the knowledge of good and evil, right? She would have come to understand these things, but that is something that takes time and growth to, to develop.

And she would have acquired that knowledge through, through a means that God has appointed. Satan offered a shortcut, Hey, whenever you eat this fruit, you'll open your eyes, you'll be able to see good and evil. And, you know, then, then you can have basically the thing that you want. And she fell for it.

She fell for it because she took the shortcut and it was something that God would have given her, but, but she short circuited the means through which God would provide for her. And Satan does the same thing to us by tempting us to take things that we want, but to get them through unauthorized means. So, one example would be enjoying the pleasure of sex without marriage.

You know, that's a temptation and, you know, people do that all the time or say, well, you want to avoid pain where you can numb your pain through substance abuse. And it's like, why God doesn't want me to feel pain. God's promised me, you know, you know, pleasures and whatnot. So, I want to, I want to take it through some way that God has not allowed me to me to have.

So, one way to spot a demonic temptation is to see, is there a shortcut where I'm taking something that I want that would be good for me to have through God's means, but I'm taking a shortcut to get it. Number four is deception. And now four and five are related, but we'll hit deception first. And this is one of Satan's chief weapons.

Demons will suggest lies to us. To deceive us. And the thing about the whole point of deception is that you need to not, you can't know that you're being deceived. If you know you're being deceived, well, then you can detect it and you cannot be deceived. So, it has to be something that's happening to you, and you don't realize you're being deceived.

And that's why it's so powerful. A lot of people are deceived, and the hardest thing is to convince them that they're being deceived because they think that they think. They think what they believe is true and right. So, 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul says, now the spirit expressly says that in later times, some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits.

teachings of demons. So how, how does Satan get people to depart from the faith? Well, one, there is, there is a deceitful spirit. There is a demon that's suggesting lies to someone, and the person is believing those lies. So, they're devoting themselves to this deceitful spirit and they're believing the teaching that has a demonic source.

And whenever that happens, what do they do? They can depart from the faith, which is his goal. We already read that. That's what he wants. He wants to knock us off course and even to get people to apostatize if possible. So, demons want you to depart from the faith and your mind is the primary battlefield of your life.

That's what you think, what you believe, even how you feel and what a demonic spirit would try to get you to believe is God doesn't love you. God doesn't care about you. He thinks you're a waste of time and effort. You're, you're, you're hardly worth tolerating. That's not the Holy Spirit suggesting those thoughts to you.

Those are deceitful spirits that are suggesting those things to your mind. Now, at 1 John, we're told, test the spirits. So, you have to recognize that the thoughts that are, that come into our heads are not always just things we're thinking. Sometimes they're thoughts that come into your head that are suggested to you by an evil spirit.

And it's okay to acknowledge that might be happening. And the way that you know is by testing the spirit and you test it according to the truth of God's word. You test it according to what you know is true, but you have the most confidence in which is the truth of scripture. So, Satan will try to murder you spiritually by suggesting these anti-Christian lies.

And your responsibility is to reject those lies, to refuse to believe them. Don't believe lies. That's, that's our responsibility. You're responsible for your thoughts. You know that, I mean, you're responsible for the things that you think about. Just because a thought enters your mind doesn't mean that it's true or that you have to believe it.

And so, it would be a, a good thing to do, you know, if you sense, if one of these in deceitful thoughts enters into your mind to, to rebuke it, to pray. Now, if you're in the grocery store, maybe just do it silently or whatever, but, but, but you can rebuke it in the name of Jesus Christ.

I rebuke this wicked thought. and any demon that is suggesting this to me. I mean, pray that, say, Holy Spirit, protect me from wicked thoughts that enter my mind.

Now here's the next one that is related to it, and then I'll put the two together. The fifth strategy is accusation. So, Satan's lies often come in the form of false accusations that rob you of your joy in Christ and your peace with God. I want to read you a little story here and the from the book of Zechariah and this story is about the, about Zechariah sees this vision of the high priest Joshua.

So, listen to what he says here. Then he, that's God, showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. So, the angel of the Lord is God. And Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. So, we're here in the heavenly throne room over here in God's presence and Zechariah sees this and he sees the high priest that is there, and Satan is there ready to accuse.

He's, he's, he's ready to fire his flaming arrows. And the Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, O Satan. The Lord has chosen Jerusalem, The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you. Is this not a brand plucked from the fire? Referring to the, the high priest. Now Joshua was standing before the angel clothed with filthy garments.

So, here's the high priest. And there is some basis of the accusation, which is he's wearing clothing, filthy garments that would have made him ceremonially impure. So, Satan's like, hey, I've got ammunition. I've got a basis of accusation. This guy is impure. He should not be here. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, remove the filthy garments from him.

And he said to him, behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you and I will clothe you with pure vestments. So, God sees him as righteous because he is a brand plucked from the fire, meaning he is one who is. One of God's chosen one of God's elects one of God's people said I've saved this one This one's mine.

And because he's mine, he is made pure by the by the Word of God that ultimately through Christ He is made pure but is being applied here in the situation So in this vision, we've got this accusation, the accuser, the devil is there ready to accuse him. Satan was eager to condemn him for sin and wipe him out, to take him out of the picture.

But God declared him righteous. And that is, the same is true of us. Satan was there to; he wants to accuse you. He's going to use anything and everything against you, but God has declared you righteous. That's the shield of our faith, right? So, Satan's lies often come in these accusations, these false accusations.

That's one of his favorite modes of attack is debilitating mental accusation and beat you down with guilt. He will deceive you into thinking that this is from God, that God wants you to feel this way. That you feeling terrible and just totally beat down and guilty, that's the way you're supposed to feel.

God doesn't really love you. He would convince you that you're worthless, you're hopeless, you're powerless. God isn't for you. God barely tolerates you. The best thing for you to do is just give up. Try to salvage what little bit of your life that you can before you die. But that's what Satan would have you believe.

It's over. The thing is like, he's an accuser. That's what he does. That is how he is named. And your mind is the battlefield. Taking enemy fire in the form of false accusations. Now listen to this, let me show you a picture, another prophetic picture, this time from the book of Revelation, and this is kind of peeling behind the curtain of what is actually happening.

Revelation 12, And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth. And his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down who accuses them day and night before our God.

He has been defeated, vanquished. He no longer has power or authority and his accusations against you have no merit because you have been clothed with pure vestments, which in the New Testament sense of the whole Bible, we are clothed with the righteousness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That's who you are.

And so, the accusations, they have no basis. They have no merit. They need to not land. Don't believe false accusations from the devil. Now I know what some of you are thinking because you're analytical. And you're thinking, well, how do we tell the difference between a false accusation and a legitimate conviction of the Holy Spirit?

Were you thinking that? Some of you were. How do you tell the difference? Well, I'll tell you. Demonic accusation and then the conviction of the Spirit. So demonic accusations, they are unbiblical, they're vague, and they're demeaning. Unbiblical, vague, and demeaning. But they're plausible enough to feel true.

That's important. That's how it's deceptive. It's just plausible enough to feel true. Just like Satan says, look at his dirty, filthy garments. It's plausible enough to feel true without accounting for the bigger picture that God has declared him righteous. So, let's say you got up this morning and you prayed for 10 minutes.

It's pretty good. Praise God. You were obedient, right? You prayed for 10 minutes, but then the thought comes into your head. You should have prayed for 20. You didn't pray enough. Did you 10 minutes? That's the best you got. Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, gave his life for you, and you give him ten measly little minutes?

Why didn't you pray for twenty, you miserable scum? What's the matter with you? Why don't you pray more for that? Don't you have any gratitude before God? Can't you get out of bed early? You disgusting filth. That's the kind of demonic accusations that come in because it's an unbiblical standard. God does not require X number of minutes per day.

And it's vague and it's demeaning because the, the thoughts that come to mind after that are, are totally crippling that would just make us feel like, well, I need to give up, but it's, but it's a moving target. You'll never hit it. Let's say you prayed for 20, should have been 30. Let's say you prayed for 30.

Well, it should have been an hour. Can you not tarry with me for one hour? Didn't Jesus say that to his disciples? Okay. Will you pray for an hour? Well. So, the Bible says pray without ceasing. You stopped. What's the matter with you? What kind of Christian are you? Don't you love God? And it, and it, the, the internal messaging is demeaning, and it's demoralizing and makes us feel as though it's pointless to even try.

It's pointless even try to be faithful and obedient because you'll never hit it. It's never enough. And so, you just feel like a miserable rotten worm the rest of your life. That's what Satan would do with these debilitating false accusations. And they rob us of our joy and obedience, and they overburden our conscience with requirements that we'll never be able to fulfill.

You didn't share your faith with that woman at the checkout. You don't love God. She's gonna burn in hell because of you. You failed. You miserable wretch. I

mean, like There's, there's always going to be more opportunities to do good things, but these accusations are false because there's, it's, it's based on this vague, unbiblical standard and it's demeaning because the conclusions that we draw from them are untrue because of who we are in Christ and so our consciences are defiled, and it keeps us from obeying.

And just a little side note here, if you ever hear the voice in your head, speak to you and the second person, pay attention to that because that's how a demon might talk to you. Demon talk to you is to say you aren't good enough. You're not enough. You don't measure up. You're worthless. You're scum. God doesn't love you.

If that's what you're hearing, that could be a demon suggesting things in your ear to pay attention to that. Does it not conclusive, but that is something to take note of. They're crafty.

They're cunning. So, try to detect and discern the activity and presence of a demon. Now that's, that's conviction of, or that's a demonic accusation.

What does conviction of the spirit look like? Conviction of the spirit is going to be a specific sin that violated a biblical standard and that, that there's an opportunity to receive grace and repentance. And that's life giving. That's hopeful, isn't it? The Holy Spirit's conviction is life giving because He offers you grace.

He's offering you a way forward and a way to be purified and cleansed and to have the hope of forgiveness and a path forward. So, let's change the example. Let's say you're one of these people that just, you never, you'd never go to church. So, you're like, I don't see the need, I don't want to, I don't ever go.

And let's say every once in a while you feel guilty about that. Is that a false accusation? Or is that a conviction of the Spirit? Well, we want, is this an actual standard? Is there, is there a biblical standard? Well, we have the whole Testament talking about honoring the Sabbath, and that's, you know, that's fulfilled in the Lord's Day worship.

So, there's that. But then we have a specific text in Hebrews 10:24. Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Okay, so here's a scripture that tells me that it should not be a habit to neglect the gathering of God's people for worship.

Okay, so I have a standard. I have a clear violation of it. I neglect it. What would the Holy Spirit have me do? Just wallow in misery and think I'm terrible? No, the Holy Spirit would say, you, you, you have been called to worship by a God who loves you and has cleansed you by His blood. So, you gather to come and worship, and the standard is to do it weekly.

So, you know, if you miss every once in a while, I mean There's grace for that, but it's like it's, you're not making a habit out of neglecting it. So, the path forward would be, okay, I need to make it a habit to be, to be there. That's, a Holy Spirit can, can lead a genuine conviction there. So, the Holy Spirit will convict us of a biblical identifiable sin and offer us forgiveness and grace if we repent.

So, you say, Lord, I've, I've, I've sinned there. I've screwed up. Forgive me and I'm going to commit. To being there. Hallelujah. You've just walked in repentance and faith. And that's exactly what the gospel produces. That is what the spirit does. That's life giving. Okay. I promised you four Christian tools.

And so, we'll go through these. I'll try to move quick. And one thing I want to just, I want you to notice is how ordinary they are. These are ordinary things. You don't need a Holy Spirit lightsaber to fight spiritual battles. These are ordinary things. And ordinary Christian faithfulness is spiritual warfare.

So, no sensationalism here. That's what I want to make sure you notice that. Number one, feed your mind truth. Feed your mind truth. Spiritual warfare, the primary battleground is your mind, and it needs truth. So, if you don't have truth, then you will not be able to recognize a deviation from it. Right? 2 Corinthians 10, For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. So, divine power to knock out demonic strongholds. That sounds exciting. So, what do we do? We destroy arguments and lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God. Basically, we detect lies, we tell the truth, we make arguments, we talk theology, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

So as thoughts enter our minds, we're like, wait a minute, I'm, that thought's not, I remember reading a verse and this thought in my mind, it sounds contrary to that verse. This might be deception. Let me look that, look into that. Let me pray about that. Let me, let me test this thought to see if it's right.

That, that's, that's we can't fight ignorance we can't fight lies with ignorance. We fight lies with truth. So, you want to make sure that you're feeding your mind solid resources. And we have a glut of resources, most of which are not good. I hate to say it, but most of which are not good. There are some that are, and so we, we, we can help one another and.

You know, we've, we provide resources. Wade sends the, the Herald every, like a weekly email that's got resources. There's books, podcasts, those sort of thing. Like, you know, most of us, you know, read those sort of things or consume that content. Make sure that what you're feeding your mind with is solid content so that you're, the diet is good truth.

And if you ever have a question about a resource, please reach out. People do this to me all the time and I'm happy to If I'm not familiar with it, I'll do research and I'll find out. If I am familiar with it, I might say, that's great, you'll be edified by that. Or I might say, you know, it's a bit sketch.

You might want to avoid that one. Or, here's the thing that I have a concern about with what this is. This author teaches. Truth is important. Number two, surrender your life completely to God. I mean, this, this, this is so obvious, but it's so important. Walking with Jesus is spiritual warfare. You don't need to be casting out demons and being, doing exorcisms to have spiritual power and to be doing spiritual warfare.

Normal, ordinary, walking with Jesus is spiritual warfare. Let me show you this from Ephesians 4. And just notice how ordinary this is. Therefore, having put away falsehoods, we're getting rid of the lies. Let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor. So, there's the truth, and we're speaking it to each other.

So, we're reinforcing truth within our church body for our members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. And give no opportunity to the devil. Pause here on that. Anger is a unique opportunity for the devil. We see the word here, be angry and do not sin. So, there's some righteous anger and some sinful anger.

So, when you feel anger, you want to detect what kind of anger is this? Is this righteous or is this sinful anger, but then anger that is undealt with and that, that lingers. So, if you, if you like, I've been angry about this for a few months, you know that. Is an opportunity for the devil. Now, some of your Bibles might say foothold, do not give the devil a foothold.

The same idea as the word opportunity. So, if you're doing rock climbing you know, Anthony Sodo is the only guy I know that could just climb up with his arms, but normal human beings need, need their legs too. So, you plant your foot in a foothold and then you push yourself up while you're climbing. And so.

So, sin in your life, especially unrestrained anger, unchecked anger, it's a foothold. So, Satan can take your anger that you haven't dealt with, plant his foot in it and pull himself up. And that's an opportunity for him to get more power in your life, more influence, and more deception. So, anger is a unique sin, and I won't read the text about it, but I also noticed in my study, unforgiveness.

Another opportunity for the devil, a unique, a unique opportunity for the devil to gain a foothold. Okay. Give an opportunity to the devil. So, these are kind of a walking through the 10 commandments in a way. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. That is the ordinary Christianity, ordinary Christianity, walking by faith, day by day, repenting of sin, detecting areas of sin, that you take before the Lord, and you confess it, and it is forgiven and healed. That is spiritual warfare.

So, the devil is opportunistic, and he will take advantage of footholds. So, if you're, if you're an angry person, say, I'm just an angry guy, I'm an aid on the Enneagram. So, I'm just angry all the time. That's just who I am. That's a foothold for the devil. So, you want, don't just. Surrender an area of your life and make excuses for it.

You want to fight with it and Fighting sin is spiritual warfare. All right, number three confess your sin. Confession. So, you think of confession as turning on the light sins natural habitat is the dark. Confession turns on the light and exposes it and that's how it's healed, and that's how it dies. But you have to expose it.

So, there's confessing to God. So, you want to acknowledge. Basically, it's like I'm bringing my mouth and my mind aligned with what God's word says, confessing is agreeing with God. Yes, this is a sin. This is a problem. God, I'm confessing it. I'm acknowledging it. Here's the light. Turn the light on.

That's wrong. And with some wisdom and discretion, I've got some Christian brothers or sisters that I want to confess it to also. Hey, Wade. Hey, Eric. Hey, Alex. Hey, whoever. Let me tell you what's going on. I've been, I've been really battling this sin, and I don't want it to gain a foothold. So, I want to tell you, I've been so angry about this thing, or whatever it is.

And I confess it. And we, we do that with each other, and I would hope that there, there are those, and you have to take a risk to let somebody in, but that is, that is a very useful resource. We speak truth to one another. There's a, there's a one another-ness in the way that we do this, and confession is part of it.

But that's, that's, we, we apply Jesus's victory with our mouth by confessing it and repenting. All right, here, last one. Act like a conqueror and not a captive. So, walk in victory, right? Like you have to have the expectation of victory and that's a will to fight your sin. I've got a will and I recognize there's a demonic element here.

It's got no power. It's got no authority. Jesus has all authority and I comply with the victory of Christ to whatever demonic influences here. So, I'm going to walk in the victory of Jesus, not like a victim of sin that is powerless. Last verse, be sober minded, be watchful. Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.

Same verse we heard before, same command, different book, resist him. And James said, when you resist him, he's got to flee. He's got no alternative. So, you've got this lion crouching around looking to devour you. I'm resisting you. He's got to turn and run because he has no alternative because he has no authority.

So, resist him because you are victorious and we have power of, of Christ at work in us so that the will to resist is key. My sermon is over. I want to make one final exhortation pastoral comment here. In this, we didn't take the time to get into some of the more fantastical things of I got a demon in my closet or, you know, I sensed spiritual attack or stronghold in this area of my life and it's really kicking my butt.

Those things are real. And I just want to tell you, if that is what's going, if that's happening in your life, you don't have to fight alone. And confession might be talking to a pastor. So, we've. I've been studying these sorts of things for a few years now, and I do that because I expect an increase of spiritual attack, spiritual activity in our church, in my life, in everybody's lives.

Based on things I've said already. So, I've, I've, I've personally wanted to prepare myself and get out ahead of this because I do think that we'll see, we'll see more of this. There, there are missionary stories you can hear in Trinidad and places like this where people are literally terrorized by demons that they know can name and they experience all the time.

I think things like that might be increasing in our society as we abandon God. So, I think we'll see those things happening and I want to be prepared for it. So, there's a man I spoke to. in this church after a service about a year and a half ago, who, he told me the story. He told me the demon's name that terrorized him, and he had yielded control of his life to for years.

And like the details were sufficient to like, I believe him. Some of you know who I'm talking about. So, these things are real, and they do happen. So, if that is happening in your life or you need help with that, don't hesitate to call or ask me or any staff or elder here. And with that, we'll pray. Thank you, Father, for the victory that you have accomplished through sending your son, Jesus, to die in our place as an atoning sacrifice for sin, crushing the serpent's head and giving us the victory in the resurrection.

So, you rose from the grave victorious over sin, death, and Satan. And we now through faith in you, we have received your victory. So, God, I pray that you will help us to apply that victory. to every area of our lives. Give us victory over sin. Let us not be terrorized or afraid. Let us not believe lies. Let us not succumb to false accusations but give us the victory.

And we pray this in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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