I am excited to start a new series entitled “Finding Freedom.” If you have put your faith in Jesus and have surrendered your life to follow Him, then you have experienced freedom. The best description of freedom that I have heard from people who come to know Jesus through salvation is a weight has been lifted off of them. The other reality some Christians have is that they somehow ended up bound by sin again. We have an adversary who doesn’t want us to walk in freedom and will constantly try to find ways to bring us back into bondage. Jesus paid a great price for our freedom and He wants us to stay free. In order to do this, we must recognize that we have a real enemy and we must learn how to walk in Jesus so that we can be effective in our faith for His Kingdom. Today, I am laying the foundation for this series on the enemy that we are are battling.
I. We are in a battle
Ephesians 6:10-12: A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Two things stand out from this text:
Our battle is not physical, but spiritual
The enemy is both strategic and organized
Revelation 12:7-12: Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.”
Satan is mad and is going to do everything that he can to hurt the people that God loves. He is relentless and will do as much damage as possible because he knows that his days are numbered.
1 Peter 5:8-9: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
We are in a battle and we need to stay alert or we will be devoured.
II. Know you are fighting
Ezekiel 28:14-19: I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.”
Isaiah 14:12-14: “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’
John 10:10: The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.
Jude 1:6: And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.
Demons are fallen angels.
2 Peter 2:4: For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment.
They rebelled and sinned against God.
Revelation 12:4: His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth.
One third of the angels fell from heaven.
The oft-recorded fact that demons are continually seizing upon the bodies of men to try to use them as their own is taken as confirmatory evidence that demons are disembodied spirits, and that their intense desire for re-embodiment indicates that the intolerable condition of being unclothed, for which they were not created, is so overpowering that they will even enter the bodies of swine (Luke. 8:32).
— Guy Duffield & Nathaniel Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology
1 Timothy 4:1: Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
They are deceptive and distort truth. They can cause various physical afflictions.
It is in the power of demons to cause: dumbness (Mt. 9:32, 33), blindness (Mt. 12:22), insanity (Lk. 8:26–35), suicidal mania (Mk. 9:22), personal injuries (Mk. 9:18), and various defects and deformities (Lk. 13:11–17).
— Guy Duffield & Nathaniel Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology
Jesus comes on the scene and immediately starts bringing forth His Kingdom and taking back territory that the enemy had stolen.
We don’t see much about demonic activity in the Old Testament. We know Saul was afflicted by a tormenting spirit. Lying spirits were sent to speak though King Ahab’s prophets to go to war against Ramoth-Gilead.
Robert Morris has a great teaching on how the Chaldeans represent demons in the Bible. Here are some points that I learned from Him:
Chaldeans: demons, wanderers (source: exhaustive dictionary of BIble names)
Demons are thieves.
Habakkuk 1:5-6: “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. 6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
They take hold of dwelling places and houses that are not theirs.
Demons are vicious.
Habakkuk 1:6-9: For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful; Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. Their horses also are swifter than leopards, And more fierce than evening wolves. Their chargers charge ahead; Their cavalry comes from afar; They fly as the eagle that hastens to eat. “They all come for violence; Their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand.
Demons are vicious like wolves.
Ezekiel 22:7: Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.
Acts 20:29: For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Demons are cunning.
The first Chaldean came in as a friend and ruled for ten years before the Assyrians found out about him. They oustead him. Three years later, the Chaldeans conquered both Babylon and Assyria and Nebeacannezer took over as king.
Daniel 2:2: Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
Demons are trying to distract deceive and determine your future. They make themselves look like friends or harmless trying to distract and deceive until they find a way to attack and destroy you.
We are not trying to make everything about the devil or his demons. The bottom line is that if we are commissioned to advance God’s Kingdom, that means the enemy’s kingdom is shrinking. He is not going to allow that to happen without a fight and he does not fight fair. Why do you think sin is so attractive? It is meant to get you to put your guard down until you are in bondage to it again. Every believer goes through challenges and discouragement. We will all get worn down at some point and have moments of weakness. We don’t need to fear the enemy, but we need to respect him. We need to stay alert and know that God will give us the wisdom and strength to stand against him. The battle will be fierce, but if we walk in God’s strength and fight together, we will see God’s Kingdom advance in our lives and in our city. Next week will take a look at how the enemy affects a believer’s life.