Spiritual warfare is warfare that takes place at the level of our spirits.

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1 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Introduction Spiritual warfare is warfare that takes place at the level of our spirits. This is somewhat difficult to grasp not because we aren t intelligent but because most of us weren t raised to think of ourselves as spiritual beings and spiritual warriors. Instead, we come to grips with who God is by realizing who we are. It s our own failure & need for help that brings us to God.

2 2 Somehow we start to see that deep down inside of us, there s a problem. It s a problem we ignore in the beginning. Then as we mature, we try to control it but we find out we can t. Sin gets a hold of us and we go from bad to worse. Somewhere along the way we learn we don t have the power within us to free ourselves from sin s control. It s at this point that we discover that the problem is a part of us. Then, and only then, do we start looking for answers because our conscience keeps pricking us.

3 3 But by that time we re servants of the powers of evil because we are held captive at the level of our spirits. This is what Paul means in Eph. 2:1-3, 1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (Eph. 2:1-3) See, we become self-disciplined to do the powers bidding since our spirits have succumbed to the will of the devil. As a result, the powers of evil chip away at our moral conscience.

4 4 This is the condition of the world, even of our society and culture. Generally speaking, there s no such thing as absolute truth. o Our culture prefers pluralism. o We kill babies and call it choice. o We don t spank our children and call it building self-esteem. o We abuse power and call it politics. o We lie and call it spin. o We tolerate perversion and call it diversity. o We covet our neighbor s possessions and call it ambition.

5 5 Church, generations of people have been trained by the powers of evil to deny God and ignore the truth. All of this is because at the level of the spirit, people are held captive to a lie. As a nation we are so self-absorbed. o Our self-absorption had created a therapeutic society. o Everything revolves around self: Self-understanding Self-acceptance Self-expression Self-fulfillment

6 6 o We ve also had a change of focus: From God to humanity From the group to the individual From responsibility to rights From others to self From service to self-expression From blessings to needs o It sounds like this: Look out for number 1. Go for it. Be all you can be. o We as a people have severed the anchor from being under God to exalting the individual, and turning in upon ourselves. Meanwhile, here we are as the church living in the middle of it.

7 7 That s why Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 10:3, 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (2 Cor. 10:3) In other words, all the reference points in your life have to shift away from the visible side of reality to the eternal side of reality. That s what Paul meant when he wrote, 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (2 Cor. 10:3) Otherwise it would be a total contradiction. We live in the world. We re threatened and attacked physically, but we must respond spiritually with the Word of God. 3 we do not wage war as the world does. (2 Cor. 10:3)

8 8 Although created good by God, the powers live in rebellion against God. They have repudiated their vocation! Although the powers seek to survive, they also seek domination. In their quest for domination, their ultimate expression is violence. But like Jesus, we cannot retaliate with violence! That s why Jesus told Peter on the night he was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, 52 he who lives by the sword dies by the sword. (Matt. 26:52) Jesus incarnated a completely different view of reality!

9 9 Do you remember the time he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples (John 2:12)? He found men in the temple courts selling all kinds of animals and other men sitting at tables exchanging money (John 2:14). 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area (John 2:15) o We don t see Jesus getting this angry any where else. o Why is that you think? o Why would Jesus be so concerned about the temple? o It is because of what the temple represents.

10 10 o The Jews were fighting mad and asked Jesus, 18 What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this? 19 Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. (John 2:18-19) o Two things are important right here. o First, Jesus was offended because they had invaded the area that contained the presence of God. (Repeat). That s important! o You can t do that and get away with it! o This is certainly applicable to what Paul wrote about spiritual warfare in 2 Cor. 10:3,

11 11 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. (2 Cor. 10:3) The tabernacle, and later the temple, were the places where the presence of God lived. According to Exodus 25:9 God commanded Moses to build the tabernacle precisely as He said. So in order for that to happen the Almighty chose two men, Bezalel and Oholiab. Then He filled them with His Spirit, and gave them the skill, ability & knowledge to do exactly what he wanted (Exod. 31:1-11).

12 12 I want you to see that God was creating a very special place. It was a place that contained his presence. In other words, it was a containment field. Everything that was in the tabernacle was there because God wanted it there. It was a place that was free of human self-reference. Bezalel and Oholiab didn t add something to the ark or the change the design of the lampstand or anything else!

13 13 If they did, human self-reference would have invaded the sanctity of the tabernacle and the LORD would have rejected it. The tabernacle, and later the temple, were very special places. They were special because they contained the presence of God! That s a remarkable image, isn t it? o The fact that God lives in something makes that something holy and special. I want you to see that the containment serves the presence of God and not the other way around. The containment serves the presence of God and not the other way around.

14 14 o This is what Jesus was so upset about in John 2. o The Jews had turned God s containment field, the place where His presence resided, into a den of thieves. o That is, human self-reference had taken control of the temple. o This was such an egregious sin that Jesus took matters into his own hands by making a whip and driving them out of the temple. o The temple was supposed to serve God; not the other way around. o We could say then that the material aspect always serves the invisible. The material aspect always serves the invisible.

15 15 The second thing of great importance from John 2 is that Jesus connects the temple to his body. But Paul tells us the same thing in 2 Cor. 6:19, 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (2 Cor. 6:19) Do you see the relationship between the temple and the body? o If the temple was a place that contained the presence of God, what about the body? Of course, Paul was writing to people who had become Christians through faith by obeying the gospel. 1 1 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus (2 Thess. 1:8). For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (2 Peter 4:17).

16 16 According to Acts 2:38 there is a relationship between baptism and receiving the presence of God, the Holy Spirit. Peter told the people on the day of Pentecost, 38 Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) So, Paul tells the Corinthians, and us, that at baptism, our bodies become temples of the Holy Spirit. So, what does it mean to be a temple of the Holy Spirit? In essence, it means the body is a containment field.

17 17 o And the containment serves the presence of God and not the other way around. What did the tabernacle and temple symbolize? They symbolized the presence of absolutes. So if the body is the temple of God, what does it symbolize? The presence of absolutes! What does that tell us about the nature of spiritual warfare? First, it tells us that it s an internal battle. o Our battle is not against flesh and blood. o It s a battle that takes place in the mind for control of the heart.

18 18 o That s why Jesus says, the spirit is willing but the body is weak. (Mark 14:38) A corrupted mind, wrong thinking, strongholds are contrary to the will of God. Spiritual warfare is attacking the things that shape us internally. We must remember that first and foremost we are spiritual beings. Second, it tells us that our lives are to symbolize the presence of absolutes.

19 19 o When a wayfarer came up over a hill and saw the tabernacle out there in the desert environment, he d say, What s something like that doing out here? o They d want to know what was in there. o What did it contain? o The presence of God! o That s what made it noticeable! o That s what we as Christians are to represent as well. o To put God on display in us is spiritual warfare. o It s the absolutes of God put on display in the god of this world s domain.

20 20 Third, it tells us God takes his presence among us very seriously. o Jesus drove the business men out of the temple because human self-reference was desecrating the presence of God by using the temple for its own purposes. o Wow! o If you re a Christian and using God s temple, your body, for your own purposes, this should strike terror in your heart. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; (2 Cor. 6:19) o The containment serves the presence of God and not the other way around.

21 21 Conclusion This is the root of spiritual warfare. o The devil tries to convince us that we re gods and so we want others to serve us. o That s the source of our selfishness and self-absorption. It s demonic! o But Jesus presence in us changes all of that. o He transforms us to the extent that we respect the presence of God in us! o Paul wrote, 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Words of Encouragement Invitation

22 22 Spiritual Warfare 4 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Introduction Spiritual warfare is warfare that takes place at the level of our spirits. This is somewhat difficult to grasp not because we aren t intelligent but because most of us weren t raised to think of ourselves as spiritual beings and spiritual warriors. Instead, we come to grips with who God is by realizing who we are. It s our own failure and need for help that brings us to God. Somehow we start to see that deep down inside of us, there s a problem (Eph. 2:1-3). Jesus was offended because they had invaded the area that c the presence of God (2 Cor. 10:3). Jesus connects the temple to his b (2 Cor. 6:19; Acts 2:38). What does this tell us about the nature of spiritual warfare? o It tells us that it s an i battle (Mark 14:38). o It tells us that our lives are to s the presence of absolutes. o It tells us God takes his presence among us very s (2 Cor. 6:19). Conclusion

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