Identifying the Elements of Spiritual Warfare: A Study Guide
Edward F. Lundwall Jr
Today, we see spiritual immaturity, failure, apostasy, and atheism on all sides. It has been observed that the signs of the great tribulation are increasingly abundant! But, we are encouraged to “look for your redemption is drawing near!”
1 Thessalonians 5:1- 5 speaks of the coming “the day of the Lord” as “sudden destruction” upon those described as “children . . of darkness.” However, Christians “are all the children of light” and “For God hath not appointed us to wrath (the day of the Lord), but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, . .” (1 Thess 5:9). Since he was speaking to the Church as a group, he said: “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thess 5:8). That is, “. . give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:” (2 Peter 1:10b).
To new believers, Jesus exhorted them to prove to Him and themselves the reality of their repentance and to experience deliverance from sin: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8: 31, 32 compare Rom. 8:2-9). For: “No one who is born of God practices sin,...” ( 1 John 3:9 NASU).
Because: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of ..” (2 Cor 7:10).
Therefore: “. . . war a good warfare ; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (1 Tim 1:18c, 19).
Because: “ . . we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6:12).
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
How Spiritual Warfare started!
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa 14:12-14).
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tablets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub , from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” (Ezek 28:12-17).
This was Satan’s gospel to Eve, our first mother:
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen 3:3-6).
The development of the human sinful nature as with Satan was:
1. Discontent with God’s present provision:
2. Disbelief in God’s ability and intention to give more and His warnings.
3. Reminding God’s warning, but to challenge and disbelieve God and His Word.
4. To use self knowledge and wisdom to replace present enjoyment of God’s blessings.
5. Becoming a self made god by “knowing good and evil” to experience three types of
pleasure: a. of experience: delightful food; b. of contemplation - list of the eyes; c. of wisdom beyond the limits set by God.
6. This is the basis of the works of the flesh Gal 5:19-21: “. . the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21 NASU). This is playing as a god having superlative rights to decide.
Present day manifestations:
In the unsaved
- Uninformed ignorance: Heathen, and un-churched Acts 17:30
- Worldly souls: Matt 4:8, 9; 13:19; Rom 12:2; 1 John 2:15, 16
- False or apostate religions: Acts 3:17; 20:29, 30; 2 Peter 2:1. 2; Mat 7:21-26
- Dead in worldly sins and controlled by fleshly sin and Satan: Eph. 2:1-3; Gal 5:19-21
- Live as natural men: 1 Cor 3:3
- Loyal/identify with teachers more than God’s truth: 1 Cor 3:2-6
- Only able to handle elementary truth: 1 Cor 3:1, 2; Heb 5:12-6:2
- Learn only in a soulish way: 1 Cor 2:14; Heb 5:12-14
- Fail to live principles of spiritual life: Ps 1:1-3; John 8:31-35; James 1:2-8; Gal. 5:14-16, 22-25
- Yet to practice the exchanged life exercise: Luke 9:23-25; Rom 6:11, (Gal 2:20) 13,16; Gal 5:16 with Gal 1:5-7 and John 14:26; Ps 119:11 (NASB); 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Cor 3:17,18
- View Christ as their life: Col 3:3, 4, 11-14; 1 John 5:11-13; 1 Cor 15:46-49
- Consciously serve the Lord: Col 3:23, 24; 2 Tim 2:15 with 1 Cor 2:14-16
- Able to discern: Heb 5:14: 2 Cor 10:4, 5
- Adopts resurrected mental orientation: Rom 6:13
- Orients one’s life in view of Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:10, 11) and judgement of
- one’s works: 1 Cor 3:8-14
Means of overcoming in spiritual warfare
- Positive and negative sanctification: Ps 1:1-3; Heb 12:2; John 10:10, 27-30; Rom 6:16-18 – Life style basic characteristics - Adopting relationship
- Prove one’s commitment - be immersed in the Word. John 8:31-36; Ps 119:11; Rom 12:1, 2; James 4:1-10; Rom 6: 2 Peter 2:19, 20 - As a disciple - 2 Cor 10:4, 5
- Establish a disciple/teacher relationship - Matt 28:18-20; 1 Peter 5:5 (John 21:15-17); Heb 13:7, 17
- Be established in basic truths. Heb 5:12-6:2: 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 1 John 5:13; 2 Tim 2:15
- Become a faithful (2 Tim 2:2) and develop one’s spiritual gift. Heb 10:22-25; Rom 12:3-8
- Become an active witness - 1 Peter 3:15
- Become a Timothy - subordinate partner: 2 Tim 2:2; 1 John 1:3; Phil 2:20: Acts 19:22; - in prayer Rom 12:12; 2 Cor 1:11
- Become a reproducer - Heb 5:12; 2 Tim 2:2; Matt 28:19, 20