Wednesday, November 15, 2006

How Evergreen Deals with Demons – Part 3

In previous posts we started looking at the principles for spiritual warfare found in Ephesians 6. Those principles for spiritual warfare are:
  1. Be strong in the Lord.
  2. Recognize the enemy.
  3. Stand for God—and, keep on standing.
  4. The belt of truth.
  5. The breastplate of righteousness.
  6. Our feet fitted with readiness.
  7. The shield of faith.
  8. The helmet of salvation.
  9. The sword of the Spirit—the Word of God.
  10. Under-girded with prayer.

In posts 1 & 2 we looked at the first six principles. Today, we will examine the final four principles.

The shield of faith: Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Jesus told his disciples that they could not drive out a demon due to their little faith. (Matthew 17:14-22) Too often we confuse intellectual ascent with faith. It is one thing to believe that Christ can use the Holy Spirit that dwells within us to drive out demons and it is another thing to BELIEVE that Christ can use the Holy Spirit that dwells within us to drive out demons. The first “believe” is to have it in our minds. The second “BELIEVE” is to truly believe it in our mind, heart and spirit and to be willing to go into battle based on that belief. Years ago I help lead our presbytery’s Mid-High Camp. Part of my duties was to help run the high ropes course. Heights and I do not get along too well. In my brain I knew that those cables were strong enough to hold a car off the ground. In my brain I knew that there was no way for me to fall if we followed all of our procedures. Each day I had to transfer those intellectual beliefs into action. It was my job to help the campers transfer from “the vines” to the “zip line.” Fifty feet above ground level! Spiritual warfare demands that we move from an intellectual faith to an all consuming faith in the call and power of Jesus Christ in our lives. We must know that Christ can, and will, act through us! This faith will protect us in the midst of spiritual battles.

The helmet of salvation: 1 John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” There are far too many Christians (especially Presbyterians) who do not know that they will be in heaven. I have talked to many people who “hope” that they will be in heaven. Others I have talked to “think” they will be in heaven. We must know that we will be in heaven following our last breath of air on this earth. The Apostle Paul tells us that to live is Christ and to die is gain. The first disciples firmly believed this—all but one were killed for their faith. They were will to pay the ultimate price for following Christ Jesus. A Christian must know that they have experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ—and eternal life—before heading into spiritual battle. It gives us a silent confidence that nothing on this earth can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The sword of the Spirit—the Word of God: Presbyterians (in general) are biblically illiterate! Going into spiritual battle without knowing the Word of God is like going to battle without any ammunition for your rifle. My wife grew up in the Church of the Nazarene. Their district had Bible quizzing competitions. The young people studied God’s Word to be ready for these competitions. My wife knows more scripture than most Presbyterians! Another example comes from my seminary days. To be ordained in the PCUSA I had to pass the Bible content exam. The test was only given once a year. There I was, sitting in Fuller Seminary’s largest lecture hall will about 100 Presbyterians taking this dreaded exam. Fifteen minutes into the exam one guy got up to hand in his exam. A concerned friend asked him if he was giving up so soon. He smile, and his response went something like this, “It pays to be raised a fundy!” He had already finished the exam because he had grown up reading and studying God’s Word! We must know God’s Word when we go into spiritual battles. We must take God’s Word with us into spiritual battles. It is our only weapon!

Under-girded with prayer: Prayer must under-gird everything we do in spiritual warfare. I firmly believe that the battle is won or lost through prayer. Failure to pray=lost spiritual battles!

Check back tomorrow as I describe how Evergreen puts all of these things together for spiritual warfare.


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