1 ADVANCED SPIRITUAL WARFARE
2 SESSION ONE THE TWO KINGDOMS It all started at the barber shop. Mr. Abe was looking at a magazine while he was waiting for his turn to have his hair cut when he came across some pornographic photographs. Although he knew that as a Christian he should not look at pornography, Mr. Abe had first been exposed to it when he was a high school and university student. Since then he had a weakness for pornography that he had never dealt with. Now Satan began to attack this weakness in Mr. Abe s heart. Rather than put the magazine aside, Mr. Abe reasoned, There is nothing wrong with looking. They are only photographs. He did not realize that these thoughts were not his own thoughts Satan was at work in his mind, tempting Mr. Abe to do evil rather than good. Once his appetite for pornography was whetted, Mr. Abe found that he could not stop. What was even more alarming, he found that he did not want to stop. On the way home from the barber shop, Mr. Abe bought his own porn magazine. He carried it around in his briefcase so that his wife and other people would not find out. Then, on his next business trip, he watched X-rated movies in his hotel room. This led to involvement with prostitutes and eventually an affair with one of the women at his office. Mr. Abe did all of this while serving as a deacon and Bible teacher at his church. But as a result, Mr. Abe lost his position in the church, he lost his job, and he lost his family. Discussion 1. Why did Mr. Abe fall into sexual deviance so easily? 2. What are your weaknesses that Satan attacks? Mr. Abe had a weakness for pornography and illicit sex that developed when he was a high school and university student. Although he was aware of this weakness, Mr. Abe had never dealt with it. Instead, he tried to control it with his own efforts. But when Satan attacked Mr. Abe s weakness, he found that he could not resist temptation. A small failure led to bigger failures until Mr. Abe s sexual behavior caused him to lose everything that was important to him: his family, his job and his church. When you were saved, Jesus forgave your sin. But when you were forgiven you did not become perfect. You continue to have weak points in your life that Satan exploits to tempt you. When you fail to resist temptation the result is sin. The reason that you continue to struggle against temptation, sin and evil is that you live simultaneously in two spiritual kingdoms, the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God. Three times in John s Gospel (12:32; 14:31; 16:11) Jesus describes Satan as the prince of this world. The world into which you were born is under Satan s spiritual control. Satan uses forces in the present world political power, social pressure, the media, and individual
3 thoughts and actions in order to influence people to do evil. According to 1 John 5:19, The whole world is under the control of the evil one. And 1 John 2:16 tells us, For everything in the world the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but from the world. Jesus came to become the ruler of a new eternal spiritual kingdom, the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 15:25 teaches, He (Jesus) must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Philippians 2:9-11 teaches that one day Jesus will be declared the rightful ruler of everything in the universe, both physical and spiritual. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. However, the day when Jesus rule over all things is complete has not yet come. Jesus Himself said, My kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36) In the present, many people have not yielded to Jesus authority. They continue to control their own lives rather than yielding to Jesus control and doing God s will. Also, many evil spirits are in rebellion against Jesus. When you chose to follow Jesus, you also chose to battle against these evil spirits that are fighting against Him. Ephesians 6:12 tells us concerning this battle, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers in this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. From the perspective of spiritual warfare, the purpose of Christianity is to transfer everything from the authority of Satan to the authority of Jesus Christ. It is the fulfillment of Jesus model prayer, Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10) The purpose of evangelism is to bring people under Jesus rule. That is, for them to trust in Jesus as Savior and follow Him as Lord. The purpose of discipleship is to help people to submit every aspect of their lives to Christ s authority. Jesus himself summed this up when He commissioned His followers to teach other people to obey everything He commanded (Matthew 28:20). Through fellowship, Christians encourage one another to become more like Jesus, to become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13) Through ministry, Christians display the character of Christ to meet the needs of others, both in the church and in the world. Finally, worship is a celebration of the life that God s people experience as a result of our relationship with Jesus. In this new life we have been freed from the power of Satan, sin and death. Discussion
4 1. Has there been a time when you have especially experienced attack by Satan or evil spirits? 2. How did you respond to this evil attack? 3. What did this experience teach you about your need for God? Personal Application 1. Ask God to show you any areas of your life that you have not yet committed to Jesus rule. 2. Pray, recommitting your whole life to Jesus. Ask Him for the strength to follow Him daily. 3. Talk about this experience with your small group or encourager.
5 SESSION TWO OVERCOMING ATTACKS BY EVIL SPIRITS Individual Assessment Ask God to help you to honest with Him, yourself and others. Use the following questions to help you understand your own weaknesses. 1. Do I have a sin that I have not confessed and repented of? 2. Do I have a sinful habit that I refuse to turn away from? 3. Is there a lie that Satan or other people are using to control me? 4. Who does my life exalt? 5. Who do I listen to? What messages influence my everyday life: media, friends, secular books, or God and His Word? 6. Whose example am I following? Is he or she like Jesus? Do I want to become like that person? 7. Who is following my example? Is that person becoming more like Jesus? 8. Have I been completely obedient to Jesus commands in Scripture? Small Group Application Talk about what you found out about yourself with one other person. Pray for each other, that God will help you to overcome your weaknesses so that you will grow to become a mature follower of Jesus Christ. Assessing your own weaknesses is very difficult. It is even more difficult to talk about your weaknesses with another person. Yet this kind of activity is essential if you are to overcome attacks by evil spirits. The reason that this is important is that evil spirits use our weaknesses as points for attack. They attack us by using lies to try to get us to believe something that is not true, and then influence to act on the basis of this false belief. One example of this is Satan s lie to Eve, Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5) However, the actual result of Adam s and Eve s sin was that they became spiritually blind so that they could not recognize the difference between good and evil. Jesus contrasted those who follow the lies of Satan and evil spirits from those who live according to God s truth. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason that you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. (John 8:44-47)
6 Overcoming evil spirits begins by hearing God s truth. Then we must believe God s truth and apply it to our lives. Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32) Basing your beliefs and actions of the truth of God s world will bring spiritual freedom from the influence of evil spirits, temptation and sin. You cannot overcome Satan by merely quoting Bible passages. You can only overcome Satan by seeking to live in obedience to the Bible, God s Word. When you commit your life to serve Jesus, and then live out this commitment by trying to follow His teachings, Jesus will empower you to overcome the temptations of Satan. Resources for Dealing with Evil Spirits Jesus has provided four valuable resources to help you when you are attacked by evil spirits. While all of these resources are powerful, no one of the resources is adequate by itself. You need to use all four resources in order to be victorious when you battle with evil spirits. 1. The Bible When Jesus was tempted by Satan, Jesus used Scripture to overcome Satan s temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). Satan tempted Jesus three times and each time Jesus responded by speaking a truth from God s Word. The truth of God s Word has the power to defeat the lies of evil spirits. When you are under spiritual attack read God s Word, remember God s Word, pray God s Word and apply God s Word to your situation. In order to help you do this the guide, Applying God s Word, has been supplied with this unit. 2. Personal Prayer When Jesus faced difficult circumstances in His life, He often withdrew to a place where He could be by Himself and prayed (Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12). On the night to before He was crucified, Jesus prayed that He would be able to do His Father s will (Matthew 26:42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42). When you face times of difficulty, doubt and temptation, you should also pray. One effective way to pray at these times is to pray the words of a Scripture that relates to the temptation or attack that you are experiencing. Ask God to help remember the truth of His Word, to apply it to your life, and to use it to defeat Satan s lie. Many appropriate Scriptures are included in the guide, Applying God s Word, that is included with this lesson. 3. Corporate Accountability A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17) There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24b) One reason that Jesus created the Church was so that Christians could help each other. When you are attacked by evil spirits you should talk to Christian friends who can encourage you, advise you and pray for you. In order for other Christians to help you, you must be willing to talk about your weaknesses. You must be willing to accept advice and encouragement from others. Hopefully, you experienced this encouragement during the Small Group Application time earlier in this session. Meeting one or more Christians each week for corporate accountability needs to
7 become a regular part of Christian life. 4. Corporate Prayer Corporate prayer is part of corporate accountability. But it is so important that it must be mentioned by itself. As you and your accountability partners become aware of each other s spiritual struggles, you should lift one another up to the Father in prayer. Pray for each other when you are together. Also, pray for one another each day as a part of your devotion time or intercessory prayer time. When you face an especially difficult situation, do not hesitate to call or send an asking for prayer. You can even pray together while talking on the cell phone. Corporate prayer will help each person to overcome when you are attacked by evil spirits. Personal Application 1. Use the guide Applying God s Word. In one or more areas where you are weak and are dealing with spiritual attack read the passages of Scripture. Choose at least one passage to begin memorizing. Pray the passage to God and ask Him to help you begin to apply its truth to your life. 2. Meet with one of more Christian friends this week. Talk about areas of weakness or spiritual attacks. Encourage and pray for each other.
8 SESSION THREE THE BATTLE OF PRAYER Small Group Discussion 1. Last week what did God teach you through the personal application? 2. Read 1 Corinthians 10: According to this passage should Christians give offerings to idols? An idol is only a piece of wood or stone. But there is an evil spirit working through the idol. When a person makes an offering to the idol, he allows the evil spirit working through the idol to have influence in his life. This is one reason for spiritual bondage in Japan. People who say they are not religious participate in idol worship. They may do this only once a year, perhaps on New Years Day. Then on Shichi-Go-San, they go to the shrine and dedicate their child to the god of the shrine. As a result, they are in bondage to the evil spirits who work through the idols at temples and shrines. Buddhism and Shinto are not the only forms of idol worship. Anything a person gives his heart to can become his idol. This may include a job, a hobby, possessions (such as money, a house or a car) or even a relationship. While none of these things are bad in themselves, when a person allows one of these things to become the most important thing in his life that thing becomes his god. The person lives for what he considers to be most important. As a result, an evil spirit uses this idol to control the person s life. The evil spirit uses the idol to prevent the person from worshiping and serving the one true God. There is only one true God. He wants to free people from this spiritual bondage. He wants to give them life and peace. Small Group Discussion 1. Read John 17:15 and Ephesians 6: Based on these verses, what role can prayer play in freeing people from the power of evil spirits? In John 17:15 Jesus prayed that His disciples will be protected from Satan. This teaches us that pray can provide protection from the work of evil spirits. According to Ephesians 6:18 we should keep on praying for all the saints. In Ephesians 6:19-20 Paul asks that the Ephesian Christians pray that he will be able to proclaim God s Word fearlessly. However, prayer needs are not limited to spiritual issues. Since evil spirits work in many ways in the world, you can pray for God s protection in wide variety of circumstances. This includes not only protection from temptation, but also protection from sickness, injury and even death. You can pray that God will provide spiritual, physical, and psychological protection. You can pray for God s protection for yourself, for your family and friends, and even for people that you do not know. In order to learn more about how to pray for other people please study the Praying for Other People Toolbox Unit.
9 Small Group Application Do you know someone who needs God s protection because of a spiritual, physical or psychological issue in their present life? (You can include yourself in those who may need protection) Share these needs with the members of your small group and then pray for the needs together. Prayerwalking provides many opportunities to battle spiritually through prayer. Prayerwalking is praying while walking. Prayerwalking provides the opportunity for intercessory prayer for neighborhoods, homes and people where you expect the prayers to be answered with the insight that comes from seeing people and their needs. The purpose of prayerwalking is to pray in the city among the people so that you are able to pray for them with an awareness of their specific needs. As you pray for the needs of people you will confront the evil spirits who are working in their lives. For example, a group that is prayerwalking passes a man who suffers from an obvious illness. While walking by, they pray for the healing of the man. The group passes a husband and wife having an argument. They pray that this couple will have a healthy, happy marriage. The group passes a store that sells pornographic magazines and videotapes. They pray for the sexual purity of adults and young people in that neighborhood. Finally, the group sees a large Buddhist temple. They pray that people will be freed from their spiritual bondage and experience new life through faith in Jesus. To learn more see the Prayerwalking Toolbox Unit. Application 1. Choose an area near where you live or work or another area where you go frequently. Plan to go prayerwalking in this area with the people that you have talked with about prayerwalking. 2. Before you go prayerwalking, pray that God will help you to see the people as He sees them. Pray that you will be able to pray for their spiritual needs. 3. As you prayerwalk: (1)Pray that God will bless the people. Pray that they will believe in Jesus and be saved. (2) Pray for the needs that you see and are aware of. You may ask people if you can pray for them, but this is not necessary. If you do pray with a person, please be humble and sensitive. 4. Talk with the other members of your small group about what God has taught you through your prayerwalking experience.
11 SESSION FOUR THE BATTLE OF WITNESSING Small Group Discussion 1. Last week what did God teach you through the application? 2. Read John 8: What did Jesus mean when He said, The truth will set you free? In session two we learned that the Bible is an important resource for spiritual warfare. When Jesus was tempted by Satan, Jesus used Scripture to overcome Satan s temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). Satan tempted Jesus three times and each time Jesus responded by speaking a truth from God s Word. When you are under spiritual attack you can read God s Word, remember God s Word, pray God s Word and apply God s Word to your situation. Jesus said that those who do not obey Jesus teaching do what Satan desires because they belong to Satan. They are held in bondage by Satan s lies so that they are unable to believe the truth (John 8:43-45). When Jesus said, the truth will set you free, he meant that the truth of God s Word has the power to free people from spiritual bondage that results from living in accordance with Satan s lies. Satan s lies enslave people, but the truth of the Gospel sets them free. When you witness to another person, the truth of God s Word has the power to free the hearer from spiritual bondage. The Word of God can free a person from bondage to Satan and bring him under the authority of Jesus Christ. According to Hebrews 4:12, The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The Bible is not like human books which wait passively to be read and understood. The Bible is God s active Word. God s Word penetrates the heart of the person who hears or reads it. It reveals the truth about his thoughts and motives. Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13).God s Word has the power to produce life in the person who receives its message with faith. Small Group Discussion Can you think of a time when God s Word cut to your heart, causing you to understand the truth about your thoughts, words or actions? What did you do in response to God s Word? Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. The literal meaning of word in this verse is spoken word. When you speak about Word of God, the Holy Spirit uses these words you speak to cut to the heart of the hearer. This enables
12 the hearer to understand the truth about his own thoughts, words and actions. He will also understand his need to trust in Jesus for salvation. There is a good example of what happens when the Word of God is shared in Acts 2. Peter shares the Gospel with a crowd of many thousands of people who had gathered on that day. He concludes his message with the words, God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36) The Bible tells us what happened next, When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off for all whom the Lord our God will call.... Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. (Acts 2:37-39, 41) There are many illustrations from everyday life that can be used to explain Jesus power to provide for the spiritual needs and desires of human beings. For example, --people thirst, but Jesus provides life-giving water (John 4:13-14) --people hunger, but Jesus is the spiritual bread that provides eternal life (John 6:33-40) --people live in darkness, unable to make clear moral decisions, but Jesus is the light of the world who enables people to see clearly how they should live (John 3:19-21) --people become uncertain about the direction of their lives, but Jesus shows them the way to live and the way to God (John 14:6) --people enslave one another, but Jesus provides freedom (John 8:31-32) --people fail, but Jesus provides them with the opportunity to begin again (2 Corinthians 5: 17) --people do wrong things, but Jesus provides forgiveness of sin (1 John 1:8-2:2) --people hate and kill one another, but Jesus died for them as an example of God s love (John 15:13-14; 1 John 4:8-12) --people die, but Jesus provides eternal life (John 3:16; Romans 6:23) As you use these kinds of illustrations to talk with people about Jesus, the Holy Spirit will use the truth of God s Word to penetrate their hearts and call them to faith in Jesus. Not everyone will accept what they hear. Many will reject Jesus rather than believing in Him. This is because they have been blinded by Satan s lies so that they cannot understand God s truth (John 8:44-47). Do not become discouraged if people do not understand or do not believe. Continue to pray for your family and friends. When you have the opportunity, continue to tell them about Jesus. When they believe in Jesus, He will give them freedom from sin and eternal life. They will stop following Satan and they will begin to serve Jesus. Small Group Application
13 1. Divide into groups of two people. Choose one of the illustrations above. Try to tell your partner in five minutes: how Jesus has the power to provide for spiritual needs, how you became a Christian and how your relationship with Jesus changed your life. 2. Change partners and do the same thing again. 3. Talk about what you learned through this experience of sharing about how Jesus has changed your life with another person. 4. Name one person that you would like to share the story about how Jesus changed your life with this week. 5. Conclude with a time of prayer that each person will have the opportunity to share their story. To learn more about how to share the Gospel with another person study the Toolbox units Basic Witnessing and Relationship Evangelism. Personal Application 1. Make a list of family and friends who are not Christians. Beside each name write a spiritual need of the person. Begin to pray for these spiritual needs and that God will give you the opportunity to talk with the people about Jesus. 2. If you have not done so, study how to prepare your story in the unit Basic Witnessing. Be prepared to share your story with family and friends as God gives you the opportunity to do so. 3. Talk with your family and friends about Jesus when God gives you the opportunity. Make it your goal to talk with at least one person each week. Reflection 1. What have you learned about spiritual warfare? 2. What questions do you have about spiritual warfare? 3. What is your plan to share the insights that you have learned about spiritual warfare with someone else and to help them to implement them in their own life?
14 APPLYING GOD S WORD* Read the passages that are related to your area of weakness. Choose one passage to memorize. Pray the passage to God daily until it sticks in your heart. Ask God to help you apply the truth of the passage to your everyday life. Apply what God teaches you through the passage to your everyday life. Share about what is teaching you with your small group, encourager or accountability partners. Ask for their prayer. Area of Weakness Related Passages Pride Psalm 10:4 Proverb 8:13 Proverb 11:2 Proverb 16:18 Isaiah 2:17 Isaiah 29:19 Isaiah 66:2 Jeremiah 49:16 1 Peter 5:5-6 James 3:13-18 Unbelief Psalm 78:18-22 Matthew 9:28-29 Matthew 17:20 Matthew 21:21-22 Mark 9:24 Mark 11:24 John 6:69 John 10:26-30 Romans 1:16-17 Romans 3:21-22 Romans 5:1-2 Galatians 3:22-25 Ephesians 1:18-19 Ephesians 2:8-9 2 Timothy 2:11-13 Hebrews 11:6 James 2:22 1 John 5:13 Idolatry Exodus 20:1-6 Psalm 95:3-7 Psalm 96:4-5 Psalm 115:2-8 Isaiah 44:6-9 Acts 17:24-25 Romans 1: Corinthians 10:18-21 Colossians 1:15-17 Deception Psalm 86:11 Jeremiah 9:4-6 John 8:31-32 John 8:44 John 17: Corinthians 4:2 1 Peter 1:22 1 John 3: John 1-3 Insecurity Psalm 13:5-6 Psalm 25:1-6 Isaiah 54:10 Lamentations 3:22-24 John 15:9-11 Romans 8: John 3:1 Rejection 1 Samuel 12:22 Psalm 23:1-6 Psalm 27:10 Psalm 94:14 Psalm 103:1-5 Romans 8: Peter 2: Peter 4:12-14 Addiction Psalm 139:1-3, Proverbs 28:13 Jeremiah 32:17 Romans 6:15-18 Romans 7:21-25 Romans 8: Corinthians 10:4-5 2 Corinthians 12:9 Galatians 4:6-7 Colossians 1:10-11 Colossians 3: John 1:9-10 Guilt Psalm 32:5 Psalm 40:11-13 Psalm 41:4 Psalm 51:1-2, 10 Psalm 130:3-4 Proverbs 28:13 Isaiah 53:10 Acts 10:43
15 Romans 3: Corinthians 7: John 1:8-10 Unforgiveness Matthew 5:23-24 Matthew 6:14-15 Matthew 7:1-2 Matthew 18:21-22 Luke 6:37 Luke 11:4 Luke 17:3-4 Luke 23:24 John 8:7-11 Romans 2:1-4 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 Colossians 3:13 Despair Psalm 57:1-2 Psalm 86:5-7 Psalm 107:13-15 Psalm 116:7-9 Psalm 138:7-8 Proverbs 3:5-6 Jeremiah 29:11-13 Lamentations 3:22-26 Romans 5:3-5 Romans 8:17-18 Romans 8: Corinthians 12:9 Philippians 4:4-7 Depression Psalm 4:1 Psalm 23:1-6 Psalm 42:5-8 Psalm 71:14-15 Proverbs 23:17-18 Isaiah 40:28-31 Isaiah 41:10 Isaiah 63:8-9 Jeremiah 17:14-16 Lamentations 3:19-24 Romans 5:3-5 Romans 13: Corinthians 4:7-8 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 Hebrews 10:23 Sexual Sin Psalm 139:1-4 Proverbs 20:9 Romans 1:24-25 Romans 6:11-13 Romans 6:17-18 Romans 7: Corinthians 6:13-20 Philippians 4:8-9 1 John 1: John 3:7-9 Satan/Evil Spirits Psalm 17:7-13 Psalm 18:1-3 Psalm 21:11-13 Psalm 27:1-5 Psalm 31:6-8, Psalm 37:32-34 Psalm 138:7-8 John 10:10, John 16:33 John 17:14-19 Acts 13: Corinthians 16: Corinthians 11:13-15 Ephesians 6:10-18 Colossians 1: Timothy 4:1-5 1 Peter 5: John 3: John 4:4 1 John 5:18-21 Revelation 12:10-12 *Based on Beth Moore, Praying God s Word (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2000).