April 6, 2000

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Warfare

Ephesians 6:10-12

In November, I sent out an e-mail prayer request for my wife and myself, explaining our health problems. I received back 78 responses saying that they were praying for us. However, one of those responses said that the man was praying that we would both die, evidently because of the stand I take. I only read it one time, prayed over the letter, and then I deleted it. I wish now that I had saved the letter.

Something was said in the doctor's office last Monday, and I told the doctor's wife, who is a nurse there, about the e-mail and what the man said. (The doctor and his staff are all Christians.) I had not told Carol. We then talked about it on the way home. We came to the conclusion that there are obviously people praying against me, my family and against this church. I only heard from one out of the several hundred e mails I sent out.

This last mailing was 1961 in the US. There are also 24 overseas and around 200 e mails that I have not sent out yet. And then there are many more that simply ask to be notified of updates on the web site. As I said, out of a couple hundred e mails I sent out, one had enough anger toward me for my stand that he bragged he was praying for our demise. How many more are praying against my family and against the church the Lord has led me to pastor?

This last mailing I did had an article about angles, pointing out that this modern day fascination with angles is not of God. The lady we heard on the interview spoke about how angles have supernatural power, and that power can be controlled by individuals. OBVIOUSLY, THE ANGLES SHE was talking about and had contact with were not of God. Therefore, they had to be the Devil's angles. If those angles have power to use for those who seek after their power, then they also have power to use against those trying to expose them.

People have left, and as they have left, they have professed love for me, my family and for this church. So why did the leave?

I am not one to blame things on the enemy of our souls. I have worked with people along the line of demonic activity, and I have found that in a vast majority of the cases, people are unwilling to make the changes required to free them from the influence, if not outright control, of the powers of darkness. I have found too many people far too ready to blame their ills on the devil. So I have avoided the subject here. The problem is not the devil; the problem is our own evil nature that we fail to confront and bring under control.

But events over the past couple of years bring these things up, so I feel I should deal with the subject.

Our passage tells us that our main enemy cannot be seen nor heard with the natural senses. Our struggle, fight or combat, is not with men. This does not mean that we do not have enemies among men, but that our main controversy is with the invisible spirits of wickedness. Those spirits are out to destroy us, and there is never a let-up in that effort. The powers of darkness will use every means at their disposal to accomplish their goal.

Let me give you some things indicated by Scriptures that the Powers of Darkness do. A good example of the powers and works of Satan is in Job.

1) They corrupt the truth of God's word.2) They can blind us to the truth of God's word.3) They question God - that is, they undermine faith.4) They influence people away from God's will and way.5) They can control sickness and disease. (Kurk Koch has hundreds of stories of witchcraft and magic being used to remove illnesses; however, the latter state of the sick person is worse than the first.)6) They can control wealth, both giving and removing.

If the prayers of a righteous man availath much, then what about the prayers of an unrighteous man? So the enemy gains strength from the desires of others.

Though I cannot place my hand upon it right now, I have read of people banding together to pray against a particular aspect of God's work. They pray to see that work and people destroyed with the power of the enemy. I have read of COVENS of witches working together with spells and curses to destroy particular people and works of God.

And we are clearly warned that our warfare is not with flesh and blood.

We can safely assume there are people praying against me, my family, and the ministry the Lord has given here. I am confident folks in Florida are united in prayer against us, and have been for a couple of years now. From what I have read of that group of people down there, I would not be at all surprised if they are heavily involved in witchcraft. And they could well be praying against every person associated with this ministry here at Linden.

Paul tells us that the battle we are involved in is just as real as any battle on any battle field. (BRAVE HEART) But his battle is more devastating than any physical battle, and it is much harder to fight. Though unseen, our enemy is as real as any person ever met. He is stronger than any enemy who can be seen or touched with our hands. He is more deadly than our worse enemy on the job or in our family - anyone who we might come into contact with in our daily lives.

Paul warns us of the unseen danger, and tells us how to be victorious over this enemy.

V. 10, Finally, my brethren... In his letter, Paul had instructed the Ephesians in their Christian duties. Now he tells them about their enemy, and that their strength over their enemy is only found in the Lord. You might notice here that the more one tries to walk with the Lord, the more problem he is going to have with the enemy.

V. 11, Put on the whole armour of God -- that is, put upon yourself everything God has provided for the Christian soldier living in this corrupt world given over to darkness and evil.

The armour is both offensive and defensive:

Luke 11:22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

Armour... Human weapons are useless in the most important battle that takes place in this life. Every human effort must be renounced:

2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

Renounce - literally, "bid farewell to." It means to speak out against, or forbid, or declare that we are against something.

I realize the verse is speaking of us personally and willfully rejecting anything dishonest -- that is, false doctrine and refusing to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. However, the verse also can be used to reject any dishonest thing being prayed against us:

"I reject any prayers, emotions, feelings, ideas, motives, &c., that are not through the blood of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, or that are not of the Holy Spirit."

As you know, my wife has an extremely sensitive spirit towards others, and like a lot of other people, she can almost tell what someone is like by speaking with them over the phone. I told her the other day that she needs torenounce any influence by the enemy in the area of her strength, because the devil has an imitation - a familiar spirit, or a medium spirit. And I have done the same, even in the area of my strength.

I urge everyone in here to renounce any influence of the enemy in your life, particularly with areas in which you may feel comfortable. Paul tells us we are to have no fellowship with the works of darkness.

Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Paul tells us to live godly lives, and do our best by God's grace to avoid anything of the enemy, and at every opportunity we are to reprove, rebuke and expose, the works of darkness wherever they are found. However, this verse implies that we should in our will resist and reject, renounce all works of darkness.

2 Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

I realize the verse is speaking of us personally and willfully rejecting every dishonest use of the word of God. However, the verse also can be used to reject any dishonest thing being prayed against us: "I reject any prayers, emotions, feelings, ideas, motives, &c., that are not through the blood of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, or that are not of the Holy Spirit."

"I reject any prayers, emotions, feelings, ideas, motives, &c., that are not through the blood of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, or that are not of the Holy Spirit."

Ephesians 6:11,
Put on the whole armour... Notice that partial armour will leave us unprotected against the attacks of the enemy, and will render us unprepared for battle. Everything we need has been provided for us by the Lord.

Able to stand... The foe is so numerous and mighty, unless we are clothed with the Divine armour victory is impossible.

Against the wiles of the devil. This is his methods, his well planed arts, skills and cunning devices he uses to destroy us. These are the various arts and stratagies he uses to drag us down.

Satan very seldom engages in open warfare; rather, he uses things that are appealing and are unseen.

I am not going into the armour at this time. The point I want to make is that though our enemy is unseen, he is powerful. He influences people, even good Christian people, to turn from the ways of truth.

Paul ends his exhortation here with praying always and watching.

A good sign of the enemy at work is fear. The following verse is speaking of fear in preaching the gospel, but it applies in every area:

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Though the enemy is powerful, he is not all powerful. He has no hold over those who claim and live in the victory of Christ. That is why our plea must be through Christ, for we have no strength against nor power over the enemy without Christ's victory:

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Christ has been seated at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places far above all principalities, powers, might and dominions and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come. And we have been placed there with him by faith. (Ephesians 1:19-2:6.)

Paul said, Praying always. The reference is probably Genesis 32:24-29 (Hosea 12:4), when Jacob wrestled all night with a man in prayer.

We have no way of knowing what kind of praying is going on against me, my wife and family, this Church and the people in this small group, and against the Examiner. I know the Examiner hits a sore spot that needs to be hit. I also know that people are praying against us that this ministry will be destroyed.

I might mention also that the enemy can withhold finances, so that a ministry dries up from lack of funds to carry out the Lord's work.

Though I have tried to paint a bleak picture, it does not begin to describe the danger we are in from the enemy as we try to serve the Lord. The reason I have tried to paint a bleak picture is to define the absolute need to claim our daily victory in Christ:

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

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