In the last part of our series about Evangelistic Apologetics we looked at this question – If not, why not? That question was in the context of this question – Are you really involved in fighting in this spiritual battle?
We are asking and answering seven basic questions about our involvement in God’s purpose for His Church:
- Why has God placed ‘you’ in this spiritual battle?
- What’s at stake in this spiritual battle?
- Are you really involved in fighting in this spiritual battle?
- If not, why not?
- If so, how is the battle going for you?
- What part does Evangelistic Apologetics play in this spiritual battle?
- What part are you playing in Evangelistic Apologetics?
We move now to question 5: If so, how is the battle going for you?
[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]
It is a good thing to pause at various points in our lives to consider how things are going. That pause gives us the opportunity to reflect and make course adjustments as necessary.
In light of the spiritual battle we are involved in with Satan and his forces for evil (Ephesians 6:10-13), pausing from time to time to consider how we are doing in the battle is most helpful.
So, how are you doing? Are you winning battles? Are you overcoming the obstacles? Holding your own, gaining ground, losing ground?
One mistake many of us make each day is to think we are not at war on that day. Things may be going very well in our life and the lives of our family and friends. No one is ill. No one is out of a job. No one is having financial difficulties of any kind. No one is suffering in any way, so the war must have settled down for now. BIG MISTAKE!
Satan and his evil forces are always warring with us. The worst time is often when we think we’re not under attack. If we think the war has quieted, we loosen the truth that had been girded around our waist, lower the breastplate of righteousness, take off the preparation of the Gospel of peace that were on our feet, drop the shield of faith, take off the helmet of salvation, re-sheath the sword of the Spirit, no longer pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and take our eyes away from watching with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Guess what? Satan has you just where he wants you.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Satan takes no holidays, no vacations, no sick days, no time off for good behavior. He’s always bad and he’s always after you. He wants to devour you.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10a
Satan is a thief. He roams the earth with one intent: to steal, kill and destroy. That’s what he does and he will do it to you and to me and the people we love if we aren’t ready to defend at all times.
So, back to our question: If you are in the battle, how is the battle going for you?
We need to take a close look and make sure we are fighting the right battle and fighting it well.
Fighting The Right Battle
In martial arts we teach people how to defend themselves. The first lesson of self defense is to be aware of potential danger. That means knowing what could be dangerous and how to defend against it. That might mean not walking across the street until you look left and right to make sure no cars are coming toward you. It could also mean walking away from someone you think might want to harm you.
The same is true in spiritual warfare. We need to know what dangers we face as Christians and how to defend against those dangers.
We know from what Jesus and His apostles told us that Satan is an enemy and we need to be ready to defend against him and his evil forces. Question – how do we identify what is a real spiritual danger? Answer – read the Bible!
As Jesus told His apostles – “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Even as Jesus told His disciples that He was going away, He told them He would leave them as orphans and would come to them. How does that work? How can you leave someone and come to them at the same time? The answer to that question is an important key to spiritual warfare.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you … These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:15-18, 25-27
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be the primary spiritual helper and guide to living the Christian life and fighting spiritual battles with Satan and his evil forces. The Holy Spirit did guide the apostles into all truth and that’s how we know to fight the right battle. How did the Spirit do that?
We know from the New Testament writings that the Holy Spirit gave Christians great power on the Day of Pentecost and often spoke directly to believers –
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea andSamaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
“Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:3-4
“Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.” Acts 8:29
“While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you.” Acts 10:19
“Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house.” Acts 11:12
“As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2
The Holy Spirit spoke to Christ’s Apostles and also inspired some of them to write what we now know as the New Testament –
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21
There you have it .. “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” and “All Scripture. is given by inspiration of God.” That demonstrates the fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy when He told the apostles that the Holy Spirit would “teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” and “when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,He will guide you into all truth.”
We learn about which battles are the right battles to fight by reading the truth the Holy Spirit guided the apostles to write.
Fighting the Right Battle Well
Reading the Bible carefully also teaches us how to fight those right battles well.
If someone attacks you physically and you identify the attack as a real and dangerous event but your ability to defend is weak and you lose, what good was it for you to rightly identify the battle? Self-defense training includes knowing what battles to fight and how to fight them well.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. God wants us to win battles and overcome great obstacles in our lives. How do we know how to do that?
Back to the Bible –
“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; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:10-20
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
The Holy Spirit told the Apostle Paul how Christians can fight spiritual battles well. So, what’s next? Application.
Knowing how to fight well is not enough. Knowing needs understanding and a willingness to do whatever is necessary to overcome the enemy –
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
“I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father.” 1 John 2:13
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:5
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” Revelation 2:11
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” Revelation 2:17
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.” Revelation 2:26
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”Revelation 3:5
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” Revelation 3:12
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Revelation 3:21
We could share many more insights from God’s Word about how to fight the right battles well, but if we will do what we know from the verses above we will be well on our way to victory.
The Church is under attack. We need to prepare now, train well and be ready for the fight of our lives!
We will ask and answer the next question before us – “What part does Evangelistic Apologetics play in this spiritual battle?”
And Jesus Said (Part Six) – Faith & Self Defense
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.