Spiritual Weapons and Warfare

We must remember that we cannot live the Christian life on our own and that the enemy will come at us with all he can to disable and distract the followers of Jesus. It is a spiritual battle that affects life in the real world. Stand strong and use your weapons.

Quotes:

Our authority comes out of who we are in Christ, and our capacity to intimidate the enemy comes out of our intimacy with God. — Graham Cooke

God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to permit no evil to exist. — St. Augustine of Hippo

Victory is the normal experience of a Christian; defeat should be the abnormal experience. — Watchman Nee

Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. — Jim Elliot

Top 10 Weapons of Spiritual Warfare:

  1. Self-control and vigilance: Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8).
  2. Obedience: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
  3. Confidence and Perseverance: Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36).
  4. The Word of God: For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).
  5. Justice: And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. (Revelation 19:11).
  6. Worship: Therefore urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2).
  7. Truth: Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, (Ephesians 6:14).
  8. Prayer: With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:18).
  9. Faith: Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13).
  10. Love: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Matthew 5:44).

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Manifesting God’s Glory

Paul’s next stop in Ephesus (Acts 19:1) seemed to display an extra measure of God’s power. It appears that on this third missionary journey God used special demonstrations of power to authenticate His messages and ministers (Acts 19:11).

The first story is theologically interesting since it appears Paul encounters some disciples that believed yet had not receive the Holy Spirit when they first believed (Acts 19:2, 6). The brief interpretation is that this new faith movement needed authenticity and consistency; basically evidence that the movement of Christ was united in both Jerusalem and Ephesus. But these disciples were not already Christians (since all Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the time of conversion, 1 Corinthians 12:13).

These believers were followers (disciples) of John (Acts 19:3), which means they were Old Testament seekers but did not fully understand the Christian faith. Their answer to Paul’s question about receiving the Holy Spirit revealed they were not yet fully Christians. They had not yet received Christian baptism (having been baptized only “into John’s baptism”) which was further evidenced that they were not Christians.

Acts 19:8-10 summarizes the events in Ephesus, the results being that in over two years all the people who lived in the province of Asia heard the gospel (Acts 19:10, 17).

Let’s look at some of the miraculous stuff that happened:

  1. God worked with such power that pieces of cloth, like a handkerchief that had touch Paul brought healing and deliverance from demons (Acts 19:12).
  2. There is the funny story of the seven sons of a Jewish priest named Sceva (Acts 19:13, 14) who was an exorcist. The demon says that he knows Jesus and knows Paul, but who are you (Acts 19:15). What a slap in the face. The last we see of these sons is flying through the door one by one naked and bleeding (Acts 19:16). Too funny.
  3. People were getting right with God, many believers publicly burning their tools of sorcery (Acts 19:18, 19).

It is almost as if God was showing off! God demonstrated His power in several ways:

God made the Holy Spirit obvious: knowledge of the Old Testament did not help because the Holy Spirit did not take up residence in believers until Pentecost (Acts 2:4). Before that the Spirit did not mark salvation but He did empower people for certain tasks.

God made obvious the blessings of true discipleship: Paul began to disciple people daily (Acts 19:9), and the fruit produced was that the whole region heard the gospel (Acts 19:10). A few well trained soldiers in God’s service is more effective than hundreds of people who have never been discipled.

God made His ambassador obvious: He used the ordinary to do extraordinary things. Attention was brought to Paul because he could be trusted to bring attention to Christ.

God made His power over the occult obvious: with all the magical incantations, witches, wizards and sorcery in Ephesus, God broke through and they began to understand the idea of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18).

God made true repentance obvious: God convicted the city of their error (John 16:8) and the people responded in a practical way (Acts 19:18, 19), producing fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8).

Application: How do you see God moving through your life? Is there anything that needs to be exposed and eliminated, confessed and repented of? Are you being discipled, daily through your Bible reading and quiet time, or with another man on a regular basis? What prevents you from finding another man to ask if he would like to read and study the Bible each week? The greatest power that God has demonstrated today is the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives. People cannot change on their own, how often do men fall back into the same old rut? Christ walks with us, and put other men in our pathway to help strengthen us along the journey.

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