Ladies Bible Study

Fighting a Defeated Foe

We have been studying in the Book of Ephesians for the past several months.

Letís review some of the important points we have learned.

Who we are in Christ:

  1. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Everything that belongs to Jesus belongs to us, because we are heirs to salvation. ( Ephesians 1:3)
  2. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and all power is given to Him, that he is above all principalities and He is the head of the Church, His body, of which we are.
  3. He has been given all authority and we have been given this authority because we belong to Him. We are seated in victorious place in Heaven with Him. (Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:5-6,Luke 10:19, Matthew 28:18-20.)

  4. We have been given the ability to understand the mystery of the Gospel and what Godís
  5. Plan is for the church, ourselves and all creation. (Ephesians 2-3)

  6. How we are to treat each other in the body of Christ.
  7. We are to love one another submitting to God first and then each other in love. We are to walk worthy of our calling in Christ and glorify God in all we do. (Ephesians 4-6:9)

  8. We have learned how to pray the prayers in Ephesians 1 and 3 for our own individual

Spiritual growth and the growth of others.

Letís finish our study in Ephesians by talking about warfare.

One of the tools I have been using for this study is a very old book that belonged to my mother. It is Ephesians: The Grand Canyon of Scriptures, The Wealth, Walk and Warfare of the Christian, by Ruth Paxson, published in 1939. The Lord has used this 60-year-old book to open the Scriptures to me. Ms. Paxson was a child of and a missionary in China before WWII.

Letís look at Ephesians 6:10: "Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord's mighty power within you. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies--the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world." Living Bible

Let me give you a very important thought, before we get into the depth of our lesson.

It is foolish to underestimate Satanís power and it is fatal to overestimate it.

No matter how powerful a display He puts on, He is a defeated Foe! Thus the title for todayís lesson, "Fighting a defeated Foe."

Any competent leader, in any field will tell you it is vital to know your enemy. To know how his strategy, performance, weakness and strength. Therefore we are going to look at Satan, our enemy, a little deeper.

Who is the enemy our adversary?

It is Satan, the fallen angel, the anointed cherub. We all know the history of his revolt in Heaven and how he was cast out. He is the bitterest enemy of God and His people, and this is something we need to keep in our minds at all times. Not to be overpowered, but wise.

The Scriptures give him many names: liar, murderer, accuser, tempter, prince, destroyer, the evil one, and Beelzebub. This all discloses his nature.

The Scriptures define His works as wiles, (Ephesians 6:11), snares, (1 Timothy 2:24), devices.

(2 Cor. 2:11), of which we are not to be deceived.

The Scriptures also describe his actions: He beguiles, seduces, opposes, resists, deceives, sows tares, hinders, buffets, tempts, persecutes and blasphemes. Every work of the enemy is diabolical and destructive.

We must deal with him seriously, vigilantly and intelligently!

His position:

He is prince in two locations:

Heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NKJV)

Ephesians 6:12: "For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies--the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. (The Living Bible).

He is God of this world and age:

Read 2 Cor 4:4 in NKJV

2 Corinthians 4:4: "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (- King James).

2 Corinthians 4:4: "Satan, who is the god of this evil world, has made him blind, unable to see the glorious light of the Gospel that is shining upon him, or to understand the amazing message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is God." (Living Bible)

That is why in the Gospels Satan was able to tempt Jesus the way he did, by offering Him all the kingdomís of Earth, because they belonged to him.

We must never forget Satanís ultimate goal, is to be "like the most High God." Therefore He does everything to promote this, establishing a kingdom in the air and Earth that is an exact evil duplicate and counterfeit copy of Godís Heavenly plan.

He copies the Goodness of God and twists it for his evil purposes, which is to undermine and destroy the Christian.

"There is no limit to how far Satan will go to satisfy the innate religious instinct in man, always mimicking but never revealing the truth." Ruth Paxson. 1939

Look at todayís society, not to mention flagrant open Satan worship, but false teaching such as the Church of Scientology, Christine Science, Mormonism, Jehovahís Witness.

Scripture References: Rev 2:2,24; Gal. 1:6; 2 Cor. 11:14; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Cor. 10:20-21.

His Power:

Satanís power is acknowledged in Scripture and should not be exalted or denied.

Acts 26: 17-18: "`I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me."

It is the power of darkness- Ephesians 6:12 .

It is lawless power Ė 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

It is the power of death Ė Hebrews 2:14

It is permitted power - Romans 12:1

It is limited power Ė 1 Corinthians 10:13; Luke 22:31

It is resisted power - James 4:7.

His purpose:

As I stated before, His overall purpose is to be like the most High Ė Isaiah 14:12-13.

We must never loose sight of this. He wants to thwart all Godís plan and has been attempting to do it since the beginning in the Garden of Eden.

This is what caused manís fall and required God to institute His plan of reconciliation and redemption accomplished through Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Colossians 1:19-20; "For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross."

Ephesians 1:10: "that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth in Him,"

 

ButÖ Godís plan thwarts Satanís plan!

It is all inclusive and begin in Genesis 1: -15, when God revealed to Satan the beginning of the plan, which was enmity between womanís seed and Satan seed.

It included the redemption of man, and the reconciliation of man in all things through Jesus death on the cross, as we just read.

Jesus Christ and now us, through Christ are Satanís antagonist and conqueror.

The Child is born and The Son is given to what purpose?

To reconcile man to God and to destroy the works of the devil! We must always remember this!

Jesus is all powerful!

Ephesians: 1:19: "and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power."

Ephesians 3:7: "of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power."

Ephesians 6:10: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."

Satan has power, but that was taken away at the Cross! When we are in Christ, he no longer has a hold over us.

Colossians 2:14-15: "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it."

Matthew 18:18: "Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."

Through Jesus we are able to walk in the victory that is already ours. We just need to know how!

Letís look at Ephesians 6:10 again.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;"

We are all seeking a deeper level here and I am not going to delve into this too deeply.

I just want to point out a couple of things.

  1. Donít willingly take it off, wear it all the time. (example Ėdreams).
  2. Donít let it fall off or become weak through doubt, unbelief or disobedience.

Remember the book, The Final Quest, we read parts from, that described how the army of God looked in the spiritual battle. They were either not armed or only partially armed.

Donít let this happen to you, stay in the Word, walk in love and forgiveness, be obedient and

get unconfessed sin out of your life. Do not give the enemy any opening.

We must remember that we, born again believers and the Church, are the single most powerful

evidence of his failure. He wants to stamp out that evidence. Do not give Him the opportunity by dropping your armor.

 

Look at Ephesians 6: 18: "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints"

This is the secret to real successful battles with the enemy. Prayer. Praying always, in every way.

This is what I am to stress today Ė Prayer and Fasting.

It is not what I had planned but it is the way God wanted me to go.

We must do two things to build our spirit man Ė pray and fast and pray, two entirely different things.

A strong prayer life is one of the most powerful weapons against the enemy. Jesus exemplified

this in his daily walk. The Gospels tell us repeatedly that He went away alone to pray. We must stay in constant fellowship with Father God. That is where our strength comes from.

Spend time with God, not just in crisis, but all the time.

 

Matthew 17:19-21: "Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast him out? So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.''

What was Jesus talking about. Their unbelief. He was not talking about a special type of demon, but the disciples preparation to handle this type of situation.

If the disciples had been diligent to fast and pray, their faith would have been strong enough to handle this situation. Amen?

Do I really have to fast, you might ask?

My answer is yes, and for several reasons.

Let me first define Fasting. Fasting is giving up something significant or important in your life to voluntarily seek God. It generally refers to food, because unfortunately, our stomachs rule us.

But it can also be something else, any thing that dominates your life, such as TV, radio, books, hobbies, but I believe it should first and foremost be food, if you are able to physically do it.

Notice there are two parts to fasting: giving something up - and - seeking God.

You cannot do one without the other.

  1. Giving up Ė abstaining from something
  2. Seeking Ė replacing the abstained with something, in this case God.

You cannot say I am fasting and then skip meals or not watch TV and not spend time with God, reading His Word and in prayer. If you do, then you are wasting your time.

What does Fasting Do?

  1. It Brings your flesh under control. 1 Cor. 9:27
  2. Destroys unbelief Ė Matt 17:20
  3. Puts you in a position of higher faith
  4. Gives you clarity Ė Helps you hear the Lord, Clearly seek His will
  5. Breaks Yokes Ė All your energy is devoted to God and prayer

How to Fast:

  1. In secret Mt 6:16-18
  2. Do it as the Lord leads
  1. Fast regularly Ė ( Jesus did this ) To spend time with God and in prayer
  2. Do not fast for selfish reasons so that God will give you the answers you want.

What fasting does not do:

  1. Does not change God's mind
  2. Does not make God answer you faster

Types of fasts:

Corporate - Ex: Esther, Jesosphat

Personal - David (good and bad Ė for sick sin with bathsheba)

Jesus Ė Paul

Fasting should be giving up something that dominates you, food, books and replacing it with God

If you want God to move in your life Ė be willing to give to God and faith

It will open your spirit & mind to Him and His Word