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Spiritual Warfare

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

 

Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways

 

Part 1

Lifestyle warfare

 

The most important part of spiritual warfare is fought in the lives of believers.  The devil wants to remove our trust in God, make us not good witnesses, make our lives miserable, and cause us to backslide.  However, the good news is that the Lord provides us with some spiritual "armor," with which we can overcome his attacks.  In fact, not only can we defend ourselves, we can actually move out and take ground from the enemy!  We can live lives that draw people into the Kingdom of God.

 

The first part of this course, therefore, will deal with "lifestyle warfare."  This is a necessary foundation before going further.  Please do not underestimate the importance of this part of the course.  The study will be based on the description of our spiritual armor given by Paul in Eph 6:10-18.

 

The Royal Fighter

1. In the Old Testament

A. God anointed people to fight physical battles against evil

 

B. Example of Samson (Judges 13-16)

When the anointing came upon Samson, he killed people!

 

2. In the New Testament

A. God still anoints His people to fight evil

 

B. Now we use different weapons -- see 2 Cor 10:3-6

An example of this can be seen in Rom 12:17-21.  In this passage, we are told to overcome evil with good.  The ways that are mentioned for us to do this include kindness, humility, forgiveness,...

 

C. Our enemy is not people, but the spiritual forces that are behind them -- Eph 6:10-12

 

D. The kingdom is forcefully advancing -- Matt 11:12

We need to develop a fighting attitude towards evil -- the evil in our own lives, and the evil in the lives of others.  Learn to see the world from a spiritual perspective, and seek to destroy evil while saving people.

 

E. We overcome by:   (Rev 12:11)

1. The blood of the lamb -- what Jesus did, not so much what we do

 

2. The word of our testimony

 

3. Loving not our lives even unto death -- complete devotion to the Lord, denying ourselves, and a tenacity in fighting the evil in us.

 

Belt of Truth

1. Be Bound by Truth

A. Let your life be lived based on what is true

1. Not on your emotions -- how you feel

2. Not on your circumstances

3. If you are not bound by truth, you will be bound by lies

 

B. Examples

1. The truth is that God is always with you.

a. Do not think He is with you only when you feel Him

b. Do not think He is with you only when things are gong well

c. Live your life always in complete assurance that God is with you wherever you are

 

2. The truth is that God can make your marriage fulfilling, and that His love for your spouse is in you.

a. Sometimes you may not feel loving -- choose to act in love, anyway

b. Things may be bad, and circumstances say it would be easier or better to give up on the marriage -- but the truth is different.  God wants you to fight for your marriage.

 

3. What does the Bible say about you?

a. Not what do you think or feel about yourself

b. Not what you are according to the world's standards

c. Do not base your idea about yourself on past failures or victories

 

2. False teaching

A. Consider what the following Scriptures say about false ways of thinking:

1 Tim 4:1-7;  2 Tim 2:16-19;  2 Jn 9;  Rev 2:14-16

 

B. The cure for wrong teaching is the truth

 

Breastplate of Righteousness

When a person is born again, he is made righteous by Christ.  Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, the person is right with God.  The "rightness" (or goodness) of God becomes part of him.  God sees the person as righteous.  However, the believer has to allow God to work within him and change him so that his actions become righteous.  Christ has given him righteousness, but he does not always act righteous.  This righteous behavior does not save the person, but it is a result of his salvation.  It is also an important part of Christian growth and warfare.  Living in a righteous way is part of the armor of God.

 

1. Grace and Righteousness in the Believer

A. We are saved by grace, not by works -- Eph 2:8-10.

 

B. God's grace also teaches us how to live -- Titus 2:11-13.

1. We are called to live in a different way than those in the world.  We are to be like stars in a darkened sky -- Phil 2:15.  See also 2 Cor 5:17, Eph 4:17-24, 1 Pe 1:13-16.

 

2. God's grace teaches us to look for the Second Coming of Jesus, and to let that motivate us to live godly lives -- (Tit 2:13).  See also 2 Pe 3:10-142 Cor 5:10.

 

3. It is only by the work of the Holy Spirit in us that we can live righteous lives -- Gal 5:16-26.

 

4. When we "die" to our own desires and will, we receive the life of Jesus and the ability to live holy -- Gal 2:20.

 

2. Righteousness as a Breastplate

Disobedience is the place of greatest danger for the Christian.  Sin gives our enemy a place to work in our lives.  This is why the Christian needs the breastplate of righteousness. The righteousness that comes from the grace of God can stop Satan's schemes against us.

 

When we do right, the devil has no place to attack us.  But when we do wrong, we open ourselves to the devil's influence in our lives.

 

Gospel Shoes

1. Advancing the Gospel

When Paul writes of the believers having their feet shod with the preparation (or readiness) of the gospel of peace, it is possible that he is thinking of the part each believer is to play in the advancement of the gospel (see Isaiah 52:7). 

 

A. Preaching the Gospel in itself is an act of war against the devil and his forces

 

B. We are to preach the Gospel with our lives

1. In what we do

The way that we live our lives either draws people closer to the Lord, or pushes them farther away.  What you do can be a powerful proclamation of the Gospel.

2. In what we say

We are to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet 3:15), and to be ready to preach the Gospel in season and out (2 Tim 4:2).

 

2. Standing Firm in the Gospel

Read v 13-14.  We are told to stand our ground – to not give the devil any place in our lives.  The Gospel shoes help us to do that.  Know that times of temptation and trial come, but God expects us not to give up ground (by falling into sin).  We are not supposed to give in every time there is a struggle.  See the section For Further Study at the end of this lesson for more information on how to stand firm.

 

3. The Gospel of Peace

A. Peace with God -- Eph 2:11-13, 2 Cor 5:17-18

We need to be at peace with God before we can enter into conflict with the powers of darkness.

 

B. Peace with others -- Jn 13:34-35, Rom 12:4-5, 1 Cor 12:12-13, Gal 3:28, Eph 2:14-19, Phil 1:27

We also need to be at peace with one another. God has not called us to engage in warfare alone, but to fight the hosts of darkness alongside our brothers and sisters. Indeed, the very fact that we have become one through the gospel is a sign that God has overcome the principalities and powers who oppose us.

 

C. Peace with ourselves -- Jn 14:27, Gal 5:22, Phil 4:4-7

 

Shield of Faith

1. Trust in God

A. The gospel is only the power of God for salvation to those who will believe it -- Rom 1:16

 

B. Faith in Christ puts us under God's protection -- 1 Peter 1:5.

1. The Bible shows God protecting His people from physical harm when they trust Him.

a. Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego -- Dan 3

b. Daniel in lions' den -- Dan 6

 

2. In Eph 6:16 Paul is talking about a shielding from the spiritual damage which the enemy would inflict on us.  This includes weakening our fellowship with the Lord and making us less effective in our service for Him.

 

C. Jehoshaphat -- 2 Chronicles 20

King Jehoshaphat found himself in a situation quite similar to ours. He and his subjects were being challenged by enemies far too numerous and mighty for Israel to defeat. However, Jehoshaphat knew about the shield of faith. Read about Jehoshaphat's prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:5-12.

 

2. The enemy tempts us to take our eyes off of Christ

We must realize that one of the most common methods by which he attacks and torments the children of God is by luring them into the trap of basing their relationship with God on their spiritual performance.  In other words, the enemy makes us believe we are close to God when we do the right things, but far from God when we fail.  It is Christ alone who makes us able to stand, so we need to trust in Him and not in ourselves or anything else.

 

Helmet of Salvation

1. Salvation now and Salvation to Come -- Phil 3:12-15

A. Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are saved.

 

B. Yet, we have to hold on to our salvation so that we will remain saved.  See Phil 2:12.

 

2. Guard Your Mind

A. One of the biggest battlefields in spiritual war is your mind -- 2 Cor 10:5

 

B. Guard your mind with salvation

1. Do not let the devil deceive you with thoughts that you are not saved

 

2. Know that it is by Christ's work that you are saved and can stay saved

 

3. Filter every thought through salvation.  If the thought is in line with what Jesus has done for you and what the Bible says about your salvation, than accept it.  Otherwise, do not entertain the thought.

 

 

Sword of the Spirit

1. Jesus' temptation -- Matthew 4:1-11

A. Jesus used the Scriptures to take His stand against the devil.

 

B. When we know the Scriptures, and can have the right Word for the right time, it is a mighty weapon.

 

C. Let us be in the practice of overcoming the devil by declaring, "It is written…"

 

2. Meditate, memorize and speak the Word -- Jos 1:8

 

3. Obey the Word

-- even when the enemy seeks to prevent you -- Acts 13:46-47

 

Praying in the Spirit

1. Pray ALWAYS -- Rom 12:9-12,  Col 4:2-4, 1 Thess 5:16-18

             

2. Pray with intensity (fervency) -- Col 4:12;  Jam 5:16

 

3. Pray in the Spirit

A. Pray in tongues -- 1 Cor 14:2

The New Testament makes it clear that the Christian who speaks in tongues is communicating with God by the power of the Holy Spirit.  A believer praying in tongues can know for certain that he is praying God's will, and that the prayers will have effect.

 

 

B. Praying dependent upon God

Our prayer is to be dependent upon God for direction and inspired by His Spirit.  We do not pray on our own power, or think that it is the strength of our praying that brings results.

 

4. Be watchful (alert) -- 1 Pe 4:7

This is a spiritual alertness that keeps us from becoming too sluggish and lazy to pray. It is also a mind which is deeply concerned with God and His purposes.

 

5. Persevere in prayer (keep on praying)

--  Dan 10:1-14, Luke 18:1-5, Acts 12:1-17

 

Prayer Time:

Pray on your own about your spiritual armor:

-       Pray through each item, asking the Lord to reveal areas in your life that He wants to work on.

o   Truth

o   Righteousness

o   Proclaiming the Gospel of Peace

o   Faith

o   Salvation

o   The Word

o   Prayer

 

-       Write down what He shows you.

 

-       Make a commitment before God according to how He leads you

 

-       Write down your commitment in a place you will see it often

 

 

Part 2

Expelling Demons

 

Introduction

1. Defining the Terms

A. Demon, Unclean spirit, Evil Spirit

These three terms are used throughout the New Testament to refer to the same thing.

 

B. Devil

This is not the same as a demon.  The word means slanderer, and is normally used as a title for Satan himself.  Therefore, there are many demons, but only one devil.  Some versions of the Bible translate demon as devil, but this is not the best.  They are two different things.

 

C. Demonize

1. This is the word most commonly used in the Greek to refer to someone who is under the influence of a demon.

 

2. Unfortunately, many times this word is translated as possessed by a demon.  This makes it sound as though the person is owned by the demon.  This is not the case.

 

3. Many Christians correctly argue that a believer in Jesus cannot be possessed by a demon.  However, that is not really an issue, as the word demonized has nothing to do with possession.

 

2. Common Questions

A. Can a Christian be demonized?

1. If the demon was present before the person was saved, it does not automatically leave at salvation.  Such a person needs to be delivered from the demon in addition to getting saved.

 

2. Once someone is saved, they can still become demonized.  They can be under the influence of demons.

a. The enemy wants to keep believers from being good witnesses for Jesus.

 

b. Peter warns Christians to be on guard against the devil -- 1 Pet 5:8-9

 

B. How do demons enter?

1. Demons look for weak areas of life and weak moments.  Some possible weaknesses may include:

a. Background of idolatry or witchcraft

b. Emotional shock or pressure -- such as a fearful experience

c. Sin -- if you continue in a certain sin, you weaken your defenses and a demon could gain access to you.

d. Family strife or rejection -- especially as a child

e. Other influences before birth or as a small child

 

Example:  There was a young man who was demonized by a demon of lust.  He always had perverse sexual thoughts about women -- whether those women were even attractive to him or not.  He even had such thoughts as a small boy when he could not understand them.  He could not control them.  When he got saved, the problem remained.  Finally, as a young man he came to realize that the problem was a demon, and he cast it out.  He then sought the Lord concerning how that demon had gained such influence over him.  The Lord revealed that it had come because of his father.  His father had regularly committed adultery around the time of this person's birth, and had opened up his family to the influence of a demon of lust.

 

2. They can also enter when someone worships a demon and invites its presence.

 

C. How can you tell the difference between a demon and your flesh?

1. It is important to find out the source of the problem.

 

2. If the problem is your sinful flesh, it needs to be crucified

 

3. If the problem is demons, they need to be expelled (cast out)

 

4. Ask the Lord for discernment, so that He can reveal to you the true cause

 

5. Sometimes through counseling an experienced minister can recognize the signs of a person being demonized, and can pray for deliverance.  Some possible signs include the following (be sure to understand that these do not necessarily mean a demon is involved, only that one could be).

 

a. An inability to gain freedom from a sinful habit (such as in the example above)

b. Unexplained sickness

c. Depression or other emotional difficulty that you cannot overcome

d. Thoughts of insanity or madness

e. The person may experience moments of freedom, especially in times of intimate fellowship with the Lord, but afterwards it is as though he was never free

 

3. Activities of Demons

A. Entice

They persuade people to do evil.

 

B. Harass

They try to arrange things in your life to go wrong.  When these things cause you to become angry or discouraged or anxious, they have gained an opportunity to influence you more.

 

C. Torture

Many believers open themselves up to be tortured by demons through such things as unforgiveness.  Some ways demons may torture include:

1. Physical torment -- there are many ways they can do this.  Some common ones are:  arthritis (pain in the joints), crippling, blindness, being tired all the time...

 

2. Mental torment -- this may include fear, guilt, etc..

 

3. Again, you cannot assume that these problems are always caused by demons, but just know that they sometimes are.

 

D. Compel

They lead people to compulsive actions, or addictions.  They are habits that the person cannot seem to break.  These may include:

1. Alcoholism or drug addiction

 

2. Gluttony, or compulsive eating

 

3. Talking, or many other things that the person just does too much and cannot stop

 

E. Defile

1. Putting unclean thoughts in your mind

 

2. Unclean speech, such as blasphemy

 


F. Deceive

1. Lead people to cults and false doctrines

 

2. Make you believe things about yourself that are not true, such as "you are a nobody," "you will never succeed..." "you cannot be forgiven." etc

 

3. Make you believe wrong things about God, such as He is not with you, He is angry at you, He does not love you

 

4. Sickness and Demons

A. Sometimes sickness can be traced to a demonic source.  Jesus at times dealt with sickness by casting out demons.  See Mt 9:32-33, 12:22;  Mk 9:17-29;  Lk 11:14, 13:11-16

 

B. It takes discernment to know if the problem is caused by a demon or if it is merely physical

 

The Ministry of Deliverance

1. Deliverance

A. Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead have won the victory for you.  It is only this that can free you from the power of demons.

 

B. People can be delivered in different ways.

1. Believers can cast the demon out of themselves.

We will discuss this point in more detail below.  Jesus gave us authority over all the power of the enemy  (Lk 10:19).  That certainly includes his power in our own lives!

 

2. The person can go to a pastor for individual prayer and deliverance.

 

3. A minister of the Gospel can lead a group of people in deliverance all together.

This is a combination of the first two ways.  It is very helpful when there are too many to be prayed for individually.  It also helps the people to realize that they have the authority themselves to deal with demons.  This method should be used together with in-depth teaching, so that the people understand what to do.

 

C. In seeking deliverance for yourself, there are some helpful guidelines to follow.  It would be a good idea to teach these to believers.  Remember, only believers have authority over demons!

 

1. Affirm your faith in Christ

This involves speaking out God's Word, and applying it to your situation.  Believe that the Lord is going to empower you with all that you need.

 

2. Humble yourself:  1 Pet 5:5-6

a. God resists the proud.  Humble yourself.

 

b. Sometimes we must choose between deliverance and dignity.  Deliverance can be a very undignified ministry, but it is worth it.

 

3. Repent of any known sin:  1 Jn 1:9

a. Do not try to cover anything up or make yourself look good.  Be open and honest with God.

 

b. God already knows the very worst about you -- and He still loves you!

 

c. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal sins to you.  Do not be anxious about this, wondering if you have missed something.  Trust Him to show you what you need to know.

 

d. Repentance also means to turn away from the sin.  You cannot expect deliverance if you are unwilling to turn completely from your sin and renounce it.

 

e. Do not make excuses for your sin.  Admit that you are guilty!

 

f. Remember that God hates sin!  Come to hate it, too.

 

4. Forgive all other people:  Mk 11:25-26;  Mt 18:23-35

a. If we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven!  Mt 6:14-15

 

b. Forgiving someone is not an emotion so much as a decision.

You do not have to feel like forgiving someone, but you must decide to forgive him.

 

c. After deciding in your heart to forgive, speak out the forgiveness.  "I forgive..."

 

d. Once you have forgiven someone, you will still be tested.  Every time the feelings of bitterness and unforgiveness return, you must decide to forgive.

 

e. You do not have the power in yourself to forgive everything.  Call upon the Lord to help.  You must at least be willing.

 

5. Break with all witchcraft, idolatry, and the like

a. This includes getting rid of any object that is linked to such things (Deut 7:26Acts 19:19)

 

b. You cannot serve two masters.  You must deny one.

 

6. Pray for release from every curse in your life

a. A curse can be compared to a dark shadow over a life that shuts out part of God's blessing

 

b. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is your basis for being free from curses

see Gen 24:1;  Gal 3:13-14

 

c. Some things which indicate you may be under a curse (not necessarily)

1). Mental or emotional breakdown

 

2). Repeated sickness... especially if it is common in your family and ancestors

 

3). Barrenness, or a tendency to miscarry

 

4). Breakdown in the home / family

 

5). Recurring financial problems

 

6). Tendency to be involved in accidents

 

7). A family history of suicides or other unnatural deaths

 

d. If you believe you may be under a curse, break its power based on Christ's work on the cross

 

7. Take your stand with God

a. Speak it out:  "I submit my will, my purpose, my future, my whole life to God.  I take my stand with God against all sin, all evil, and every demon."

 

b. God will also take His stand with you!   Rom 8:31

 

c. One way God may help you is by revealing the identity of demons that need to be expelled

 

d. Speak out what the Lord shows you:

"You spirit of (death, lust, confusion, whatever...), I take my stand against you in the Name of Jesus.  You have no more place in me.  I command you to go!"

 

8. Expel!

a. Command the demon to leave

 

b. Many people physically feel the demons leaving

Some have felt demons leaving through yawning, vomiting, or coughing.  It is common to feel them leave simply through breathing out.  Others feel them go through their fingers or toes, or in other ways.

 

c. You may want to envision it going out as you exhale

 

D. A model prayer for deliverance.

This is just a model -- do not need to follow it religiously.  However, when mixed with faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, it can help you.  Do not be in a hurry.  Do not skip over important things.  Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  The prayer has some blanks.  These are things you must fill in yourself, as the Lord leads.

 

1. Affirm your faith in Christ:

. Lord Jesus, I believe you are the son of God and the only way to God -- that you died on the cross for my sins and rose again so that I might be forgiven and receive eternal life.

 

2. Humble yourself

. I renounce all pride and religious self-righteousness and any dignity that does not come from you.  I have no claim on your mercy except that you died in my place.

 

3. Repent

. I confess all my sins before you, and hold nothing back.  In particular, I confess _____.  I turn away from all sin and I turn to you, Lord, for mercy and forgiveness.

 

4. Forgive all other people

. By a decision of my will, I freely forgive all who have ever harmed or wronged me.  I lay down all bitterness, all resentment and all hatred.  In particular, I forgive _____.

 

5. Break with all witchcraft and idolatry

. I sever all contact I have ever had with witchcraft and all false religion -- in particular ____.  I commit myself to get rid of all objects associated with witchcraft or false religion.

 

6. Release from every curse

. Lord Jesus, I thank you that on the cross you were made a curse, that I might be redeemed from every curse and inherit God's blessing.  On that basis I ask You to release me and set me free to receive the deliverance I need.

 

7. Take your stand with God

. I take my stand with You, Lord Jesus, against all Satan's demons.  I submit to You, Lord, and I resist the devil.  Amen!

 

8. Expel!

. Now I speak to any demons that have control over me (name them if you know the names.  Speak directly to them).  I command you to go from me now.  In the Name of Jesus, I expel you!

 

by Derek Prince, THEY SHALL EXPEL DEMONS, p 216

 

 

*When leading a group in deliverance, it can be very helpful to lead them through such a prayer step by step.

 

2. How to Keep Your Deliverance

Demons will try to come back!  See Lk 11:24-26

A. Thank God, you are free!

 

B. Make sure that Jesus is ruling in you

 

C. Live by God's Word -- Josh 1:8

 

D. Spend time praising the Lord

 

E. Come under discipline

1. Self-discipline (includes spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, worship,...  Also things like controlling your tongue, and exercising self-control)

 

2. Come under right authority in church, home, work,...

 

F. Cultivate right fellowship

1. Choose to be around believers who lift you up and draw you closer to God -- Heb 10:24-25

 

2. "Evil company corrupts good habits."  (1 Cor 15:33)

 

G. Be filled with the Holy Spirit:  Eph 5:18

1. Be continually filled -- not a one time event

 

2. Continually praise the Lord

 

3. Always be thankful

 

4. Submit to one another in humility

 

H. Be sure that you have been baptized in water

1. This is a sign of your obedience to Christ

 

2. A sign of our new life

 

3. A sign of our being separated form the world

 

I. Put on the whole armor of God  (see Part 1 of this course)

 

3. Some Possible Reasons why Not All are Delivered

A. Lack of repentance

God knows the heart, and knows if repentance has been true and complete.

 

B. Lack of desperation

Some people only try half-heartedly.  They are not desperate for relief.

 

C. Wrong motives:  James 4:3

If you only want to be free because of selfish pleasure, this is a wrong motive.  Your motive should be the glory of Christ.

 

D. A desire for attention

Some people actually like the attention they get during times of deliverance, and so they do not truly want to be free.  You should gently try to show such people the truth.

 

E. Failure to break with witchcraft / idolatry

 

F. Failure to let go of harmful relationships or sinful patterns

 

G. Part of a larger battle

There are some people who seem to be central to the enemy's plans in a given area.  Maybe their deliverance and salvation would lead many to Christ. In any case, sometimes there is a person for whom deliverance is very difficult.  This may be what Jesus was referring to when He said that sometimes fasting is necessary (Mk 9:29).  Do not give up hope in such cases, and do not let the demon deceive you into thinking you cannot cast it out.  You still have authority over all the power of the enemy (Lk 10:19)!

 

4. Helping to Set Others Free

A. Remember that it is not in your power -- but in the authority given by Jesus

 

B. Be under authority yourself -- see Lk 7:7-8

1. In order to exercise authority, you must be under authority

 

2. God is the source of all authority -- Mt 28:18

 

3. Be under the authority of a local church

 

4. The key is to be accountable

 

5. Be in right relationship to God and to the Body of Christ

 

C. Two are better than one -- Ecc 4:9-10

1. Jesus always sent people out in pairs

 

2. Sometimes the person becomes violent, or for some other reason it is necessary to have another person

 

D. Do not minister deliverance alone to the opposite sex

*. If you can work with your spouse, that can be the best

 

E. Use the cross and the sword of the Spirit

1. The cross is the only basis for deliverance

 

2. Our weapon is the Word of God spoken boldly and in faith

No demon can defend itself against this sharp sword

 

F. Practical Points

1. Take person through the eight steps as much as possible.

 

2. Focus on Jesus, and get the person to focus on Jesus -- not on self or anything else.

 

3. If the person struggles, do not take over for them.  They must learn to fight.

 

4. Sometimes things become stalled, and you stop making progress.

Ask the Lord for a word of knowledge to reveal what the problem is.  It may be a sin that needs to be confessed, or He may reveal the name of the demon that is resisting, or it may be something else.  Listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, and obey Him.

 

5. There is no need to shout at demons.  Even a spirit of deafness is not deaf.

 

6. Do not give place to spirit of fear.  Quote Lk 10:19; 2 Tim 1:7

 

7. Emphasize the promise of Joel 2:32

Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved (delivered).

 

8. Remember the power in the Name and the blood of Jesus.

 

9. Counsel and teach as needed.  You do not want the demon to return once the person is delivered!

 

G. Do not attempt deliverance with someone who is not willing to fight with you.  If they plan to passively let you do everything, you will likely not be successful.

 

Class Discussion:

How does all this compare with the way you have been doing deliverance?

 

Do you think you will make any changes in the future?

 

 

 

Prayer Time:

Gather together in cell groups:

-       Be sure everyone understands the eight guidelines in praying for deliverance

 

-       Seek the Lord individually and see if you are bound in any way.  Does anyone want prayer for deliverance? 

 

-       Pray through the eight step prayer with whoever requests it.

 

 

 

Part 3:

Confronting the Darkness

 

This section of the course will focus on fighting our enemies through direct confrontation.  We will discuss  praying against spiritual forces in our cities and villages, in order to help bring more people to Christ.  We will be referring to territories, cities, areas, villages, nations, etc.  Whatever term is used, you can apply the information to your place of ministry.

 

The Bible does not give a lot of information regarding how to conduct this type of spiritual warfare.  Therefore, much of the information in this section is based on experience.  Of course, experience is always viewed in the light of Scripture, so that we do not get out of line.  However, it is important to keep this in mind.  As you study this material, please search the Bible to see if what is presented in any way contradicts God's Word.  Also, seek the Lord in order for Him to reveal the truth. 

 

This is a subject which we are still learning about.  In reality, there are very few (if any) "experts."  We are all students.  Add what is useful from this course to what you have already learned, and use it to confront the powers of darkness in your area.  Also, please use the opportunity of this course to share insights you have gained with the group, so that we can all learn together from one another.  May the Lord Jesus be glorified in all our efforts and battles.

 

The reason we confront the powers of darkness is to expand God's Kingdom.  Fighting the devil is not our primary goal, but saving souls is.  The purpose of spiritual warfare is evangelism and discipleship.

 

Testimonies

Adrogue:  This is a suburb of the large city of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  For many years there was no successful evangelism in this area.  Many churches had been forced to close due to lack of success.  There were few churches, and those were small.  One was a Baptist church with 70 members -- nearly all of whom were not from Adrogue.  Nobody could remember even one resident of Adrogue becoming a Christian.    A new pastor came in 1974, and the church grew to 250 people in 13 years of ministry -- but still very few of the people were from Adrogue.  They came for prayers at the church, but lived in other nearby communities.

 

In the 1980s, this pastor began to learn about strategic level spiritual warfare.  He organized two seminars on the subject for his church, bringing in people from outside.  Soon after this, there was a clear battle in the church. They discovered an agent of the demonic powers who had pretended to be converted and joined the church.  She caused a lot of problems.  Demons began to openly manifest in the services.  The pastor and leaders of the church began a long process of prayer, ministry, and discernment.  Through this, they discerned a territorial spirit ruling over the area.  Through prayer, they sensed God's timing for a final battle with this spirit.  35-40 of the church members spent Monday to Friday fasting and praying, and on the Friday night 200 believers met for intercession together.  They took authority over the spirit, and other lesser spirits in the area.  At 11:45 pm, they all felt a breakthrough in the spirit realm.

 

Within the next three years, the size of the church tripled, to over 600 members.  In 1991, they had gone over 1,000 people, and 40% of them were from Adrogue itself.

 

Resistencia:  This city in northern Argentina was another one in which few people were becoming believers, in spite of a lot of evangelism being attempted.  In the beginning of 1990, there were only 6,000 believers total in a city with 400,000 people (only 1.5%).  In 1989 an evangelist decided to begin a spiritual warfare campaign in order to evangelize the city.  He gathered a team in the city, and spent a year in prayer, intercession, and training of leaders.  In 1990, he invited some spiritual warfare 'experts' from outside to come and teach and intercede.  They made several trips to the city during that year.

 

The people began to discern and pray against the territorial spirits.  In this case, they were mostly represented by gods the people had worshipped there for a long time.  By the end of 1990, there were more than 10,000 believers total, and at least 18 new churches had been started.  Many people were healed and delivered from demons.

 

The Bible and Spiritual Warfare

Discussion Groups

Divide into three groups.  Each group read the scripture assigned to it, and make a list of what the passage can teach us about spiritual warfare.

. Group 1:  Daniel 10:1-21

. Group 2:  Luke 11:14-22

. Group 3:  2 Cor 4:1-6;  2 Cor 10:1-6;  Eph 6:10-20

 

1. Jeremiah -- Jer 1:10

A. This seems to be a reference not simply to human governments, but to spiritual forces

 

B. Before the work of building God's Kingdom, it is necessary

"To root out and pull down,

To destroy and to throw down..."

 

C. There are spiritual forces that need to be defeated in order for God's work to be done

 

2. Jesus

A. He healed all who were oppressed by the devil -- Acts 10:38

 

B. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil -- 1 Jn 3:8

 

C. Overcoming the strongman -- Lk 11:14-22

1. This incident begins with Jesus casting out a demon

 

2. Jesus shows that it is by God's power that He overcomes demons

 

3. Jesus speaks about overcoming the strongman, so that

He takes from him his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. -- Lk 11:22

 

4. The strongman refers to the devil and his demons, and Jesus is the one who overcomes him.  The spoils are the people Jesus has come to free and to save.

 

5. It is necessary to overcome the enemy before taking his "spoils."

 

3. Conclusion

A. Every Christian is part of God's army, fighting against a real, spiritual enemy.

 

B. The devil's goal is:  To prevent God from being glorified.  He does this in two main ways:

1. The devil's primary way of doing this is to keep people from being saved.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  The devil does everything he can to keep them lost.

 

2. Under this, the next thing the devil fights for is to make people as miserable as possible in this present life.

a. If necessary, he will use someone's blessings and happiness to keep them from God.

b. But, whenever he can, he seeks to make people miserable through such things as violence, sickness, poverty, oppression, war, etc...

 

C. Jesus gave His people a commission to make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19-20).  This can be done best when we win the spiritual battle in prayer first, removing the blinders that Satan has put over people's eyes.

 

Seeing the World as it Really is

When you look at your village, there are many things you can know about it in the natural.  You can know who is influential, who has political power, who has what land.  You can know the name of the village, and what its boundaries are.  You can know about the location of churches, schools, government centers, homes, businesses, farms, etc.

 

However, there is something more to your village that is below the surface.  Forces are at work to influence the lives of its people.  There are spiritual powers or rulers which control certain things.  If you want to advance God's Kingdom, it will help you to know the real forces against whom you are fighting.  You can come to understand the way things really are, not just the way they appear to be.  There may be spiritual reasons behind the election of a certain official, the commonness of certain sinful behaviors, the choice of a certain piece of land for a school, etc...

 

1. Idols

A. Throughout the Old Testament, the people are given warnings against idols.  Some of these are:

Ex 20: 4-6;  Num 33:52;  Deut 7:25-26

 

 

B. Idols represent false gods, or demons

1. They lead people to glorify something other than God -- Rom 1:23

2. Paul shows the relationship between idols and demons -- 1 Cor 10:20

 

C. Sometimes demons can attach themselves to physical objects that have been dedicated for that purpose, and we should be careful not to allow such things in our midst.

 

2. Territorial Spirits

A. In the Old Testament, people saw gods as having authority in a certain territory.

1. Each city was considered to be owned by its own god, and all the people of that city were servants of the god.

 

2. Abraham was called out of this false belief (see Josh 24:2), and began to reveal the difference between Almighty God and the small gods of the people.

 

3. At one point, the Syrians thought Israel's God was only a god of the hills, so they made a battle against them on the plains.  In order to show He was not like their gods, God gave the victory to Israel each time, no matter where the battle was fought -- see 1 Kings 20:23-30.

 

B. There are such spiritual forces which influence nations, districts, cities, towns, villages, homes, etc.

1. In order to see the world as it really is, we must understand the spiritual forces which influence our particular city or area.

 

2. These spirits are part of Satan's army, given the job of fulfilling his purposes in their area.

 

C. Naming these powers

1. Some spirits have names, which are used by people to worship them as false gods.  Are there gods which are commonly worshipped by name in your area?

 

2. Others can be identified by what they do.  Examples are spirits of violence, witchcraft, mammon, sexual perversion,…

 

D. How spirits gain influence over an area

1. Sometimes the leaders of a nation, tribe or area invited the presence of demons by worshipping them as gods in order to gain power or protection through them.  This may have happened long ago, but the spirit was able to establish itself there as a stronghold.

 

2. Others gain entrance through the sinful lives of leaders and influential people.  Some locations are well known for particular sins, and the people there are bound by that sin.

 

E. How the spirits maintain their influence

1. Ongoing religious rituals

Many cultures have developed traditions around the worship of false gods (demons).  These traditions are seen by many as harmless ways of maintaining culture.  However, in some cases they help to keep the people in spiritual bondage through honoring territorial spirits.

 

2. Continuing acceptance of sin

Territorial spirits which are known for certain sinful characteristics can maintain power as the people continue to live in that sin and even accept it as normal.

 

F. The "divine purpose"

1. Not only can cultures and territories be under the influence of dark spiritual forces, but they can also be under the influence of good.  God is the creator of your place!

 

2. Every place has a purpose in God's plan for the world.  There is something in your area that God can use to expand His Kingdom.  Once you begin to understand God's purpose for your village, you can start to pray and act toward fulfilling it.

 

3. It is even more important to find out this divine purpose of your area than it is to name the powers of evil.

 

3. Identifying spiritual forces

We are going to discuss some specific things which we can do to understand the way things really are in your area.  What are the forces which are at work below the surface?  Here are some things you can do to find out.  Maybe you can come up with other ideas:

 

A. Names of the territory

*. Make a list of names commonly used for your area.  Do any of these have meaning?

a. Is the meaning a blessing or a curse? 

 

b. Does it describe any characteristics of people who live there? 

 

c. Does the name have a direct link to a religion or demons?

 

B. Nature of the territory

1. Is it generally closed or open to evangelism?

 

2. Are there many churches in the area?  How large are they?

 

3. What are the most common social problems (drunkenness, poverty, corruption, broken families,...)

 

4. How would you describe the people of your area?

 

5. Are there common sins the territory is known for?

 

C. History of the territory

1. When was the village founded?  Who were the leading citizens of the area?

 

2. What was the original purpose of the village?

 

3. What were the religious practices of the early inhabitants?

 

4. Are there events that have happened more often than they should (such as deaths, violence, accidents, tragedies,...)?

 

5. When did Christians first come to the area?

 

6. What kind of fruit has the Gospel had?

 

7. Under what conditions were the first churches started?

 

8. Have there been particularly evil deeds committed in the area (such as the slaughter of large numbers of people, injustice, slavery, etc.)

 

D. Leadership in the territory

1. Are the political leaders Christians?  If not, what gods do they worship?

 

2. Are business leaders and other influential people Christians?  If not, what gods do they worship?

 

3. Have leaders dedicated themselves or the nation / territory to an idol or other false god?

 

E. Physical factors

1. Are there any monuments of interest?

 

2. What type of institutions are common (religious, social, political,...)

 

3. How many churches are there?

 

4. Are there "high places," shrines, etc..

The power of these will have to be destroyed (see Deut 12:2-3).  In the New Testament, these things are destroyed through warfare prayer.

 

5. Note physical places where God is worshipped, and those where the devil is worshipped.

 

6. Are there many places for drinking alcohol, engaging in prostitution, etc...

 

7. Is there a lot of cult activity?

 

F. Spiritual factors

In order to determine spiritual factors at work in your community, it will help to work with intercessors, people with prophetic gifts, and those gifted in the discernment of spirits.  A group should be formed of people who will engage in intense prayer to learn the mind of Christ for your area.

 

The unity and humility of this group is very important.  This is not a competition to see who is the most spiritual.  The members must be able to flow together in prayer, be honest with one another, and confirm (or question) the leading each member is receiving.

 

Along with their praying and seriously seeking the Lord, the group should be aware of the following questions:

 

1. Is it easy or difficult to pray in this place, compared with other places?

 

2. Can we discern a cover of darkness?  Does it have specific boundaries?

 

3. Is there a spiritual difference between various locations within the area?  Do some communities in the town or village seem more oppressive and some more free?

 

4. Has God revealed a specific name to us (either a proper name or a description)?

 

5. What else is God showing us?

 

G. Surface vs root bondages

1. A surface bondage is one that may be relatively new to the area.  It may seem to be the most obvious, but if it has been there a relatively short time, there are likely deeper and more powerful forces at work.  For example, if a cult moved into your area one hundred years ago, and many people follow it, it could represent a surface bondage.

 

2. Root bondages are those that are truly at the heart of what is happening in the spiritual realm in the territory.  They have often been at work for hundreds of years.

 

3. Surface bondages need to be dealt with, but do not mistake them for root ones.  You may think you have won a great victory only to realize there is much more happening than you were aware.

 

4. Strongholds

 

A stronghold is something that the devil uses in an area to exalt himself against the knowledge of God.

 

Strongholds exist both in the lives of individual people, and in groups of people (such as cities, villages, nations, churches, schools, families, etc.).  At the back of this course there is a list of different types of strongholds which you may encounter.  Feel free to study this on your own.  A territorial spirit is one type of stronghold that we have already discussed.

 

Assignment:

Begin a list of things you know about your village which could be helpful in seeing it as it really is.  Think about the following:

-       Names

-       Common problems

-       Common sins

-       History of the village

-       History of salvation in the village

-       Evil deeds committed in the past

-       Leaders – political, social,…

-       Unity in churches

-       Fruit the Gospel has

-       Satanic activity; witchcraft, etc.

-       What do you think the divine purpose may be?

-       Anything else that may be helpful

 

Repenting Collective Sins

1. Introduction

A. There is a difference between individual sin and collective sin.

Collective sin is a particular sin or sins that are common to a group of people.  The ancient Israelites were guilty of the collective sin of idolatry.  Not every person in Israel committed this sin, but many did, and it became a collective sin of the nation.

 

B. Personal sin must be repented of by the person who sinned.  No one else can take the place of the person and confess for them.

 

C. Intercessors can confess and repent of collective sin even though they did not personally commit the sin.  In doing this, something that has displeased God is removed.

 

D. Repenting collective sin does not bring forgiveness to each individual person.

A person has to repent for himself in order to be forgiven.  However, collective repentance can close the door to the devil's work in a group of people or a physical area.

 

2. The Entrance of Strongholds

A. Spiritual forces have established themselves where they have been invited.  Normally, this invitation has come in the form idolatry or other sinful lifestyles and desires.

 

B. The sin of a people can be considered the "gateway" to the city, village, or nation.  It is the entrance the enemy used to gain influence.

 

C. If demonic strongholds are present and powerful because of sin, that sin must be dealt with before the spirits power will be broken.  The way to deal with sin is repentance.

 

3. Biblical Examples

A. Nehemiah:  Neh 1:4-9

1. Nehemiah identified with the sins of his people, although he was known as a righteous man

"...confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against you."  (v 6)

 

2. Nehemiah also repented of his personal sins

"Both my father's house and I have sinned." (v 6)

 

B. Ezra:  Ezra 9:1-15

1. Ezra was repenting for the specific sin of marrying pagan wives

 

2. Ezra himself was not guilty of this sin, but as an Israelite he felt ashamed and extremely sorrowful because of the sin.  Like Nehemiah, he identified with the people.

 

C. Daniel:  Dan 9:3-19

1. Daniel also identifies with the sin of his people

"we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled..."  (v 5)

 

2. Daniel makes it clear he is not praying because of his own goodness (v 18)

 

4. Some Practical Suggestions

A. Through the process of seeing your area as it really is, you will come to see community sins which give strength to the powers of darkness.

 

B. Seek the Lord regarding how and when to deal with these sins.

 

C. Identify with the sins.

1. We can all identify with the roots of sin

 

2. Even if you are innocent of that sin yourself, it is only by the grace of God.

 

D. Repent of personal sins as well.

 

E. Seek the Lord to see if there are people who need to be repented to also

1. If in your area a certain group of people were mistreated at some time, it can be good to bring a representative of those people to a service and humbly repent on behalf of your people publicly.

 

 

Example:  An American minister went to Japan recently and publicly repented for the atomic bombs which the USA dropped on that nation in the 1940s.  He invited a few Japanese  people who had been personally effected by those bombs to the service, and repented to them as representatives of all those who lost loved ones or who were themselves injured.

 

2. If tribalism is a sin in your area, the Lord may lead you to repent on behalf of your tribe to members of other tribes.

 

F. Respond in the opposite spirit

*. If the sin is violence, reach out in love.  If it is division, reach out in unity, etc...

 

Example:  A team of ministers were ministering in the city of Cordoba, Argentina.  They became very frustrated by the lack of results.  Through prayer and fasting, they came to see that one of the ruling spirits in that area was pride.  They responded by:

1) confessing their own pride

2) humbling themselves by kneeling to pray right in the middle of some of the busy parts of town.

 

After this, there was a large harvest of souls!

 

 

Taking Villages for God's Kingdom

1. Work towards spiritual unity in the body of Christ

A. Personally contact local pastors, and share with them what the Lord is laying on your heart.

 

B. Be sure to make it clear this is not your ministry, but that you are proposing a way to work together to build God's Kingdom.

 

C. Understand that the devil will do anything to keep pastors from getting together -- he knows the power of Christian unity even if we do not!

 

D. The unity that is needed is not perfect doctrinal unity or unity of ministry practice.  It is spiritual unity.

*. All pastors who are sincere followers of Jesus Christ qualify.

 

E. It is not wise to begin a spiritual warfare campaign before a good amount of unity is reached.

             

2. Equipping the saints for battle

A. Before beginning, be sure that the people are spiritually ready.

1. Go over the material in Part 1 of this course (Lifestyle Warfare), and also see the section at the end called Being Equipped for Battle.

 

2. It is better to postpone your campaign than to begin it before people are ready.

 

3. If necessary, conduct seminars / conferences that deal with the themes of holiness, drawing near to God, obedience, etc.  Lead times of repentance and rededication.

 

4. Do not overlook the pastors -- they need to be ready, too!  Do not assume they are.

 

B. Discern the enemy's strongholds in their lives.

 

C. Begin a prayer movement.

An excellent way of doing this is to establish many prayer groups in the area -- different places throughout the area where people meet to pray.  These can be in churches, schools, homes, businesses, etc.

 

3. Seeing the area as it really is

A. Define the area:  select the geographical area you are going to reach

1. Do not select a target that is too big.  You will only be effective if you begin with an area that can be realistically managed.

 

2. If the area is large, break it down into smaller communities.

 

3. Build teams to focus their warfare on a particular community.

 

B. Research and pray together to determine:

1. Divine purpose (or purposes) of the village

 

2. Satan's strongholds in the village

 

3. Territorial spirits assigned to the city

 

4. Community sin (both past and present) that needs to be dealt with

 

4. Intercessory prayer

A. Organize intercessory prayer groups throughout the area

 

B. Have times of coming together to pray and seek God

 

C. Together seek to discover God's plan of attack and timing

1. Do not enter into spiritual warfare in the flesh!

 

2. Seriously seek the Lord concerning what He wants you to do

 

3. Seriously seek the Lord concerning how He wants you to do it

 

4. Seriously seek the Lord concerning when He wants you to act

 

D. Follow Through in Obedience

Obey the Lord's direction in specific prayer strategies.  This may include the following:

 

1. Prayer gatherings, overnights, etc.. (together as body of Christ)

 

2. Fasting

 

3. Collective repentance

 

4. Tearing down strongholds

 

5. Breaking spiritual powers

 

6. Other strategies the Lord may show you

 

5. Preaching the Gospel

A. Establish new churches, in anticipation of an abundant harvest.

 

B. Preach the Gospel to every person in the area.

 

C. Cast our demons and heal the sick

 

D. Establish new believers

1. Baptize new believers as a visible declaration of victory.

 

2. Disciple them through the new churches that have been planted (and through existing ones).

Remember that the goal of spiritual warfare is making disciples of Jesus.  This means that it is necessary to have a way of making disciples in place when you begin the battle.  You are expecting souls to be won!

 

3. Impart the missionary vision into the new churches to reach other villages.

 

4. Repeat the cycle again and again!

 

Avoiding Common Mistakes

You are likely to make some mistakes as you engage in spiritual warfare.  Be sure to remain humble and teachable, and learn from your mistakes.  Here are a number of common mistakes that people make.   Being aware of them will help you to avoid them, by God's grace.

 

1. Ignorance

Do not enter this battle lightly.  It is true that Jesus in you is greater than all the forces of evil.  However, without the Lord there is nothing you can do to defeat the devil, or even to defend yourself.  You need to be aware of the power of the enemy, and to never forget that your authority comes only from Jesus.

 

A. Many people are in a war, but are not aware of it.  This is a serious mistake.

 

B. Ignoring the spirit realm and the works of the enemy can be dangerous.

 

Example:  There was a big festival in the nation of Denmark celebrating pornography (sexually enticing books and movies).   A group of Christian American youth wanted to take their stand against this evil,  and they went to the city where the festival was being held.  They preached to people day after day, sharing the Gospel and trying to open their eyes to the dangers of pornography.  The sad part is that within the next few years, every person who had been part of that ministry had fallen into pornography addiction or other sexual sins.  They had entered a war zone without realizing it, and so were vulnerable to the devil's attacks.

 

2. Fear             

A. Many Christian leaders are afraid to aggressively attack the enemy.

 

B. Some fear that the devil will bring problems to them if they attack him.

 

C. Others fear moving into something unknown.  They wonder if such actions are Biblical, and if God is truly wanting us involved in this type of warfare.

This is a very real concern, and you should not dismiss it lightly.  If you encounter such people, try to explain to them as best as you can the things you are learning.  Show them that you are willing to be taught and shown mistakes when you make them.  This will help them to be more comfortable.

 

3. Spiritual Pride

A. You will get in a lot of trouble if you try to engage this enemy without true humility.

 

B. Know that you are weak in yourself, but in God you are mighty.

 

4. Lack of Intercession

A. Be sure to have people interceding for you.

This goes beyond simply asking people for prayer.  It means you are assured that certain people, whom you know to be strong intercessors, will regularly intercede for you.

 

B. Intercessors should pray for your protection

They should pray for the physical safety of you and your family, as well as for your emotional and spiritual health.  The devil will come against you, but intercessors can help to protect you from every attack.

 

5. Praying Without Listening

Do not base your intercession and your ministry on your own understanding.  Seek God for His wisdom and direction.

 

6. Poor Timing

A. Remember that God has His perfect timing, and you must get to know it.  It is possible to fail even though you are doing the right thing, because you have done it at the wrong time.

 

B. Many of us tend to be impatient.  We need to learn to wait on the Lord.

 

7. Not Under Authority

A. We should engage in warfare only when we are in proper relationship with those who have spiritual authority over us.

 

B. Be sure your pastor gives his blessing to what you are doing.

 

C. Even if you are a pastor, there should be someone (or a group) to whom you are accountable and under authority.

 

D. Do not try to move out in spiritual warfare alone.  We need each other.

 

 

Action Steps:  Begin to develop a plan for spiritual warfare in your village.  Refer especially to the five steps in the section Taking Villages for God's Kingdom (day 4).  Write your plans in an exercise book, and be ready to share some thoughts with your cell group next month.

 

----------     For Further Study     ----------

 

Standing Firm in the Gospel

A. Know that you are in a struggle against evil and sin -- see Heb 12:1-4;  1 Pet 4:1-2

 

B. Run to God, and do whatever you need to do to overcome temptation

 

C. Do not think that God's grace allows you to live any way you want to -- see 1 Cor 10:6-13

1. If your heart is set upon God, He will forgive you no matter how often you fall

 

2. However, if you think that you can just go on doing as you like because of His grace, you are being deceived.

 

3. God's grace leads us to righteousness, not into more sin (Rom 6:1-2, 15)

 

4. When you no longer feel bad about something that is wrong, that is the first sign you are under judgment -- see 1 Tim 4:2.

 

The Bible and Spiritual Warfare

1. Daniel -- Dan 10:10-13, 20-21

A. There appear to be spiritual rulers, or "princes' that are somehow related to geographical areas

 

B. These spiritual forces greatly influence human life

 

C. The way to battle these forces is in prayer

 

2. Paul

A. The enemy has blinded the eyes of lost people so they do not receive the Gospel -- 2 Cor 4:3-4

If people are to be given a chance to respond to the Gospel, first the blinders must be removed.  This is a spiritual job.  Many people do not come to Christ because they are unable to see the truth.  They must be set free through spiritual battles.

 

B. Spiritual weapons -- 2 Cor 10:3-6

1. The Lord has given us weapons that are not the same weapons used for fighting in the world.  They are spiritual weapons, which are "mighty in God."

 

2. Paul mentions strongholdsarguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  These refer to spiritual forces.

 

C. Principalities and powers -- Eph 6:10-20

We are in a battle, and our enemy is not people.  Our enemy is spiritual.  We do not know if these forces mentioned in Eph 6:12 are different levels in the devil's army, but they clearly are spiritual forces which are against us.

 

Strongholds

Strongholds exist both in the lives of individual people, and in groups of people (such as cities, villages, nations, churches, schools, families, etc.).  Following is a list of different types of strongholds which you may encounter.  A territorial spirit is one type of stronghold that we have discussed.  Often times the territorial spirit in an area can be greatly strengthened by the existence of some of these other types of strongholds:

 

A. Personal Strongholds

1. Things that the enemy builds to influence your personal life.  Examples could be:  personal sin, thoughts, feelings,...

 

Note:  One of the primary personal strongholds the devil uses is pride.  Pride of believers and church leaders in itself can prevent God from moving in our area.

 

2. The way to defeat this is through Biblical holiness.

 

3. Lack of holiness produces holes in our armor, and we become open for attack.

 

4. These holes can be closed through repentance.

 

B. Strongholds of the mind

1. A lie that the devil convinces people to believe.

2. A common stronghold of the mind is hopelessness.  It is seen in such thoughts as, "My village is so hard, I don't think it will ever be won for Christ."

3. This stronghold must be fought with God's truth.

 

C. Philosophical Strongholds (or Idea Strongholds)

1. Philosophies which control people

 

2. Powerful examples are:  communism, humanism, materialism, etc...

 

3. Need to recognize that there are often spiritual forces behind such ideas

 

D. Occult Strongholds

1. Strongholds of witchcraft, satanism, New Age,...

 

2. These give power to the forces of darkness through spells, curses, rituals, fetishes, etc..

 

3. Leaders should have intercessors praying protection for them, knowing that they are likely targets for curses and other wicked schemes

 

4. Some common effects of curses:

a. Sickness without a natural cause

b. Confusion of the mind

c. Not able to sleep

d. Sexually clear dreams that keep coming back

e. Extreme tiredness

f. Fear

 

Understand that there are often other reasons for these things, too.  You know it was a curse if the symptoms disappear quickly after breaking the power of the curse.

 

5. As long as you are walking in holiness and close to the Lord, you are protected from curses.

"A curse without cause shall not alight."  (Prov 26:2). 

 

E. Social Strongholds

1. Oppression over an area such as injustice, tribalism, poverty, corruption

 

2. Fight this stronghold by doing the opposite of what it does:

Work for justice, bring tribes together in unity, give to the poor, refuse to bribe, etc...

 

 

F. Strongholds of Strife between City and Church

1. This is when the church sees the city (government, LCs, police,...) as its enemy, and the city sees the church as its enemy.

 

2. This is defeated when the church begins to be a blessing to the city

a. Sponsor projects that bless the city

b. Help to solve city problems such as street children, orphans....

c. Show honor and respect to city officials

 

3. Sometimes the church has been an embarrassment to the city, through scandals, sin, etc.

If this is the case, perhaps some church leaders should go to the city in repentance.  The power of repentance will be studied in a later chapter.

 

G. Seats of Satan

1. A geographical location that is highly oppressed (Rev 2:13)

 

2. Often times is a center for occultic practices (witchcraft)

 

H. Strongholds of Division

1. This stronghold divides churches  (A house divided cannot stand... Mk 3:25)

 

2. Sometimes it is the most important stronghold to tear down, because until it is defeated there is no power to fight any of the others

 

3. Some common causes of this division

a. Pride of doctrine

1). Believing that you are the ones with the truth, and others do not have it like you do

2). Believing that certain doctrinal points are more important than unity.  This is usually not true.  You do not have to agree on everything in order to have spiritual unity.  For example, someone does not have to believe in tongues in order to have fellowship with you.  Compared to the doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ alone, the doctrine of tongues is minor.

3). Understand the idea of eternal doctrine:  When you stand before God, what will He ask you about what you believed?  Will he ask how were you baptized or if you believed in healing?  Not likely.  He will ask "Have you been born again?  Have you been forgiven by the blood of Jesus?"

 

b. Fear of rejection

 

c. Fear of losing members

Remember that the members belong to God, not to you!

 

I. Strongholds of Sin

1. Sins of previous generations that produce weaknesses toward certain sins

 

2. These strongholds can effect families, villages, and even churches.

 

Being Equipped for Battle

1. The Purpose of Prayer

A. Fellowship with God:  see Jn 15:4-9;  Rev 3:20

1. We have to always remember that this is the most important reason to pray.  If you pray for  nothing else, always take time to just be with your Father in heaven.  Do not skip over this in order to get to other prayer issues that may seem more important.

 

2. Do not attempt to move out into warfare prayer or intercession without the foundation of a very strong relationship with the Lord.

 

B. Prayer and spiritual warfare

"The purpose of prayer is not to persuade or influence God, but to join forces with him against the enemy."

1. You are on God's side!  In true spiritual warfare, you and God want the same thing.

 

2. Warfare prayer is directed against the enemies of God.

 

3. Listening to the Holy Spirit is a very important part of warfare prayer.  He is the source of your information, and He leads you in how to pray.

 

 

2. Being prepared to resist the devil.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. -- James 4:7-10 (NRSV)

 

A. Submit to God

1. Obedience is one of the most important things for any soldier to learn.

 

2. If we do not obey God, it is a sign that we really do not know Him (1 Jn 2:3)

 

3. If we truly love God, then we obey Him (1 Jn 5:3)

 

B. Draw near to God

1. Your personal prayer life must be strong if you are going to win spiritual battles

Please note that this is about personal prayer.  This is a time when your focus is on God, not on ministry.  You are increasing your relationship with Him.  It is a time for worship, personal repentance, talking about your life and needs, listening to the Holy Spirit, etc...

 

2. Drawing near to God requires time

We must learn to make time for personal prayer.  Do not allow other urgent matters take the place of seeking the Lord.

 

3. Practical suggestions in enjoying a strong prayer life of drawing near to God

a. The place:  Find a place of peace for your prayer time.  As much as possible, go to that place for your times of prayer.

 

b. The time:  Set aside enough time every day.  The amount of time will depend on the person, but as ministers of the Gospel we should set aside at least an hour a day for personal time with the Lord.  Remember, this is not including times of intercession for the ministry, preparing sermons, etc.

 

c. The attitude:  Prayer is a conversation.  It is not you just talking at God.  Expect to hear from Him.

 

d. Quality:  Prayer can seem like work at times, but the more you discipline yourself to pray, the more you will enjoy it.  The more you pray, the closer you will be to Jesus.

 

4. Fasting

a. This is a spiritual discipline that can help us to open ourselves to God, and draw near to Him.

b. Fasting is a strong weapon to use in fighting spiritual battles.

 

C. Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts

1. Holiness inside and out

Cleansing you hands refers to what you do.  Purifying your heart  refers to what you think and feel.

 

2. We must be holy in order to win spiritual battles

 

3. Every believer has been made holy (1 Pet 2:5,9;  1 Cor 6:11)

However, we are not yet perfected.  We are holy, but by God's grace we are becoming more holy.

If we are not maturing, or becoming more holy, we are not ready for spiritual warfare.

 

D. Lament and mourn and weep

1. We must develop a lifestyle of repentance.

 

2. Be on constant guard against sin.  Do not trust yourself, but continually run to God.

 

3. Repent the moment you know you have sinned.

 

4. Learn to hate sin, and mourn over the sin in your own life.

 

E. Humble yourself

1. Recognize and admit that you desperately need God.

 

2. Do not compare yourself with others.

 

3. Without true humility, you will eventually fail at spiritual warfare.

 

3. Principles for Warfare

A. Be sure you are in a right relationship with the Lord

Does your heart desire to know God more intimately, and to please Him in all things?

 

B. Confess all known sins

Remember that this is a continual process, not a one time event.

 

C. Seek healing to overcome areas of sin in your life

If there are areas of sin that consistently defeat you, this is a sign of some kind of spiritual illness.  Seek the Lord about how to overcome in these areas.

 

D. Be accountable with others, and allow them to speak truthfully into your life