Tuesday, March 19, 2013

P1 - The Christian's spiritual warfare

1 John 2:14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

All Christians are involved in spiritual warfare
Scripture makes it pretty clear that everybody who believes in God through Jesus Christ by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit is engaged in spiritual warfare.  2 Corinthians 10:3-5 states - "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." Then the Holy Ghost speaks in Ephesians 6:11-12  "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."  Although the two passages just cited are the place to begin in the Biblical understanding of spiritual warfare, they are not the only locations.  Virtually every New Testament author, from Paul (2 Corinthians 12), Peter (1 Peter 5:8), James (James 4:6-8), Jude (20-25) to the Apostle John (1 John 2:14-17) teach on the subject of spiritual warfare.  With regards to John's teaching in 1 John 2:14-17, we can note four elements of the Christian's spiritual warfare. 

1. The Adversary is Satan.  1 John 2:14
1 John 2:14 tells us - "I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one."  The name "Satan" means "adversary", and is central to the identity of the fallen angel who led 1/3 of the angelic host astray at the beginning of the creation (Revelation 12) and who tempted Adam and his wife to sin. (Genesis 3:1-7)  The Old Adam was engaged toe to toe by the Devil and lost, however there would be the New Adam, Jesus Christ, who would face Him toe to toe.  In Matthew 4:1 we read -  "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."  Jesus, the New Adam, faced Satan head on in the wilderness and won!  In fact, other scriptures tell us that Jesus came to destroy the Devil's power and work. (Hebrews 2:15; 1 John 3:8)  Now it is clear from scripture that we don't have to deal with Satan directly, but rather indirectly through his heirarchy of fallen angels (demons). (Ephesians 6:11-18; 1 Peter 5:8)  However what scripture is certain about is that Satan is real and considered the believer's chief adversary through the demonic realm, which in turn influences the world (which we'll look at in a moment) and which in turn puts pressure on our drives in our flesh.  (2 Timothy 2:24-26; 1 Peter 5:8)

2. The Arena of spiritual warfare is the world.  1 John 2:15
If the adversary of spiritual warfare is Satan, then the arena of spiritual warfare is the world.  The Greek term translated "world" is the word "kosmos", from whence we get our English words "cosmetics", "cosmology" and "cosmopolitan".  The term itself refers to "an organized system or order".  Thus "cosmetics" places one's face in an orderly way, "cosmology" is the study of how the universe is organized from its beginning to ending and a "cosmopolitan" person is a citizen who makes there way around the world in a strategic, orderly fashion.  The "world" is the arena in which the believer's spiritual warfare occurs.  Satan is in control of the world through his vast spiritual network as well as the various ideas and philiosophies. (Corinthians 4:4)  Though not all human thought is bad, yet our enemy often influences people through human thoughts.  The idea that correspond to the pattern of this world is what the Bible calls "worldy thinking". (Ephesians 2:1-2)  Thus spiritual warfare is waged by Satan, through the world on the battle field of the mind. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Jesus had to deal with the temptation of the "world" as seen in Matthew 4:8-9 "the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”  Jesus won that battle in His direct warfare with satan in the wilderness so that you and I could win the battle of the world in our indirect warfare with satan.

More tomorrow.........

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