I first have to apologize for the length of this and yet, I felt the importance of this last part should not be broken up. I truly do feel that this is from the Holy Spirit and He wants us all to consider and pray about what is here. God Bless you all so much — Pastor Roland
Ephesians 6:10-12, “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.”
We have already established that our fight as Christian Soldiers or Warriors is not against our neighbors, who are, like ourselves, flesh and blood, who, like us, cope with the same trials and temptations, the same choices to make as everybody else. When it comes to sin, because “the god of this world has blinded mankind,” and OUR eyes have been opened by the Spirit of God, we have to truthfully look at the Bible and analyze the examples left by Jesus, and the writings that were inspired by His Spirit to help US in our walk.
This leads me to ask you this; who is the Bible really referring too in reference to sin? Who is the Bible truly targeting, when it comes to teaching about sin? When the Apostles are writing their letters and epistles, who is it that they are addressing, UNDER THE INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
What I am getting at and what I am going to put before you has been that which the Holy Spirit has been revealing to me through the last couple months of alone-time with Him. It IS going to cause you to question and as it did me when it was “opened” to my eyes and it is going to cause some controversy in the church world!
1 Corinthians 2:12-14, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Do you get what the Apostle is saying that I’ve highlighted in bold? The normal man, your neighbor, who has not had the experience of being reborn into the spiritual realm cannot comprehend, totally if at all, what we try and tell them is necessary for entrance into the Kingdom that our Heavenly Father has prepared for ALL His creation! Your words, your explanations are gibberish to that person (unless of course the Holy Spirit reveals to them) but our action of love, our service (ministry) to those around us, is NOT to condemn them, but to LOVE them. To do what it takes to demonstrate that love that is born in us of Christ’s Spirit, by kindness first, by patience (longsuffering) and any of what the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians is a Fruit of the Spirit! (See Galatians 5:22).
Also, to my point, when you read Galatians 5, consider who the writer is speaking too when he talks about the deeds of the flesh. He is not talking to a group of non-believers; he is writing to a group who are supposed to have been freed from the bonds of sin and flesh already. When you go back and especially analyze the writings of the Apostle Paul, the times that he dwells on sinfulness, is in relation to keeping the church pure and without reproach in front of the world.
The church, the true church of Christendom is supposed to be without spot or blemish and there is a reason for this. We are to be an example to the world that through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit, walking with one another in Godly Love, we can arise above the sinfulness of the flesh. Yes, we ARE forgiven, but we still “have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling!” — Philippians 2:12.
I challenge you to see that what I tell you is true. Dig back into your Bible, it doesn’t matter what version you rely on, see that who the writers are talking too, are those in the church. We KNOW what sin is because we recognize our freedom FROM it! Mankind as a whole does not have this perspective!
So, proof again, we are not warring against flesh and blood. But then, I know you’re asking, how DO we war in the spirit against those enemies IN the spiritual realm? You already know the answer or at least part of the answer, but I think you are also going to be surprised with the fullness of it.
First, I want to share a concept with you; for as long as any of us know, through study, through hearing preachers and teachers, we have always looked upon our spiritual battles as offensive. Take up the “Sword of Christ” and attack!! That is exactly what the Jewish people were looking for when Jesus came the first time. They wanted a warrior Savior and He gave them a “lamb of sacrifice.” This is one of the main reasons that the Jewish people as a whole, only recognize Jesus as a great prophet and not the Messiah!
Well, I’m sad to say that because of human nature, history is repeating itself, but now with the very redeemed who recognize Christ Jesus as our Messiah, Redeemer! It’s not the truth!! I know what you’re thinking and I’m sad to say it is. Look at the facts; Jesus came, knowing full well that He would be an affront to the people who were expecting Him to be a fighter. That was OUR opportunity as Gentiles to be grafted into the branch of Abraham. It was all in God’s plan.
So, Jesus came in the truth of love for God and others, rather than to attack those that were the oppressors. Today, the organized religious churches who claim Jesus as their leader, are looking at the world system of oppression with blatant sin and what are we doing? We are going on the offensive against those that do not know or understand what true, REAL love is and we are attacking those in the flesh!! It’s like I said in Part I, we are actually accomplishing the devil’s work while he sits back with a big smirk on his face; and we are ALL guilty of it, myself included!
But, Jesus is coming back and when He does it WILL be for war and that is the place that His true followers will take behind His lead! But that is when He does come back. Don’t you wonder why He spent so much intimate time with His disciples and followers before? Don’t you wonder why He confronted those that wanted to react with force as, the Apostle Peter did when He adamantly told Jesus that He wouldn’t die or when the very same Apostle attacked one of the Romans with the sword? What did Jesus tell him in the latter? “If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.” Jesus was telling Peter and not just Peter, because the disciples were ALL gathered around Him in the garden; He was telling them that He came to show love at this time and they were to do the same and THAT was how the church would grow!
Is it any wonder that the early church was recognized because of its love for all? Not just the faithful, but any who needed a touch of love from the Spirit of Christ!! Where did we stray? When did we, still in that dispensation of demonstrating Godly Love, decide that it was now time to take up the sword? And, to take it up against the flesh and blood creation of our neighbors who are also loved greatly by God Almighty!
I remember the year-long wooing that my now brother-in-law spent in high school answering all my questions about God, when I was telling him what the Catholic Church was teaching. (I have no animosity against the Catholic Church as the Holy Spirit had something else for me). It was not because he condemned me as a sinner and bound for hell, that I gave my life in surrender to the will of Jesus Christ, but rather it was because of the hope that he made so pleasing and real for those that do accept that Jesus died so we might experience Heaven with Him. My brother-in-law, Ron, demonstrated love and patience and I was blessed because of it for it opened up where my real home lies!
We don’t go out into the world and preach the Kingdom of God is at hand with a club in our hands; but rather, we go out into the world with Godly Love in our hearts AND by actions! It is the church that is cautioned against sins in the flesh since we have been freed from their mastery. What the Bible is telling us is that if we fall into those categories of the flesh that we have been freed from then it is because that is what we CHOOSE to do!! Think about this; when we choose our will and desires over the will of the Lord whom we have surrendered too, what does it say to the world? I’ll tell you; they say, “you’re no different than we are so why should we listen to you?!”
So then, how do we “fight,” “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places?” As I stated earlier, I believe the answer might be a surprise to many. First we know we have to act in love to others and as stated in Part I, we have to follow Jesus’ commands in Matthew 5:43-48. Prayer is our greatest spiritual tool and our greatest weapon. It is the one way in which we can always commune with our Lord and hear what He is willing to tell us. It is the essence of an intimate relationship that He desires from each of us. Prayer has become such a “religious” term that we often forget that our Heavenly Father is aware of our thoughts before we speak them, therefore, prayer is not always verbal for we can be conscious of the Lord’s presence with us at all times. Remember, “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24b.
Remember, I was speaking about not being on the offensive? How do you fight spiritually and not be on the offensive? First, remember who I mentioned that the Apostles are writing too; then read 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
“Be sober, be vigilant, resist the enemy, staying steadfast in the faith.” Be aware of what is happening around you, not just in the world, but in the spiritual realm. You have to recognize where attacks come from to be able to resist! You have been awakened to a new existence that has expanded your sphere of influence. Don’t be lazy and just continue as if life hasn’t changed. Remember, the Apostle Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
I want to reiterate the opening Scripture again, but since there has been so much teaching on it, and teaching that tells us to be offensive, I want to highlight a few things. Ephesians 6:10-12, “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.”
As I stated, there has been so much teaching on the “armor of God” and what each piece of armor represents. I don’t need to go into that again, EXCEPT for a couple of things. But first, notice what I highlighted in the above verses, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might.” We cannot even begin to consider warfare spiritually without the Lord who we first depend on HIS power and second to be empowered by His Spirit. We gain power from Him but we gain power to be STRONG through His might.
Second, we “put on the whole armor of God” not part and this means since we are dealing with spiritual analogies, we have to know what the pieces of armor represent in the spiritual. As I stated, I’m not going to dwell on all that has been taught so many times before, but the point is that you can’t enter into spiritual warfare unless you are also spiritually fit! Now to the real point of this second clue; why do you make sure you are armored spiritually? “That you may be able to STAND AGAINST the wiles of the devil.” Yep, I highlighted to stand against for a reason. The devil is sneaky, cunning and wily. He loves mind games and he’s good at it. Look at what he did in the garden of Eden with Eve and then with the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. You think you know your Scriptures? You better know the Spirit behind the words because he’s an expert at twisting the meaning of the words. That is the very reason why the Apostle Paul states that the “letter kills but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Corinthians 3:6b. The Spirit of the Word is alive and instructive! You can do all the word studies you want, but unless you apply them in the context of the whole Scripture, you can be deceived. The sad truth is that many in the church-world today are because we have relied on others to tell us what to believe.
That we may stand against the cunning of the enemy! Who’s the enemy? Not the flesh and blood creation, for we are the creation that the Heavenly Father loves. But our enemies are the spiritual wickedness that surrounds us in the “heavenlies.” That is why the fight is in the spiritual and as we have so far learned, we are to be, sober, vigilant, steadfast in faith, and to resist the enemy and to be able to stand against its cunning. So far, I’ve only been able to dig up defensive maneuvers for our spiritual fight.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” This is a great example of preparation for the fight. We have to recognize there is a fight, a battle. We have to fight with a plan, not just swinging or swatting the air hoping something will land on the enemy. We discipline our flesh, our bodies, so that when we DO fight in the spirit, the body will not make our fight inconsequential. So, part of our warfare is as stated above concerning our armor. We have to have knowledge, not just of the enemy, but what our spiritual (not fleshly) capabilities are.
Along with this we have to understand the Apostle’s other teaching as well, “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,” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
I mentioned the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and the cunning tricks of the enemy with the Scriptures. Paul is telling us exactly how we should fight and again, it is not against the flesh. Our weapons are mighty in God! Our weapons to fight the fight have to come from Him first and foremost, otherwise we might as well be as cavemen using sticks for spears against a ferocious beast of which the Apostle Peter stated the enemy is! Our weapons are spiritual in that it is the Spirit of the Word that can “cast down arguments (against God and His children) and even the high (spiritual) things that exalt themselves against the KNOWLEDGE of God. Not against God Himself because there is no power that can exalt itself against God, Almighty. Remember, I said it before, “the god of this world has blinded men,” and “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” – 1 Corinthians 2:14.
This is speaking directly to those that “exalt themselves against the KNOWLEDGE of God.” This is what keeps mankind blind and our warfare against this is found IN the MIGHT OF GOD, himself. Every step of the way, our warfare is spiritual with spiritual weaponry, NOT with pickets and protests, and cursing those that live a life that we ourselves were trapped in before the Spirit renewed our mind and spirit.
Now before I go any further I am going to share one aspect of the armor of God and since I have laid a foundation before you concerning our spiritual fight, I want you to consider what I am going to share next. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:17-18, “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—. “
In the light of all that I have laid out before you, I want to talk to you about the ONLY weapon that others have said gives us the “right” to be on the offensive. I want to speak of the sword of the Spirit, or in other words, the Word of God. In the natural, the sword IS an offensive as well as a defensive weapon. But we are talking about in the spiritual. All of the armor to this point is for our protection against the cunning tricks of the enemy. It allows us to stand side to side and back to back with our brothers and sisters in Christ so that the Church can remain strong and upright (to stand!).
The sword, of the whole armor is the only weapon and since it is NOT to be used to tear apart flesh and blood, we can “presume” that it is for spiritual fighting. It is used to fight against the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and against spiritual hosts of wickedness, against spiritual strongholds and against the wiles of the devil! Where is it to be used? On or in the earth? This world? No; the writers of the Living Word tell us we are to take the fight to the “heavenly places of wickedness!”
Do you need more proof of this sword’s spiritual significance? The writer of Hebrews says this, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” — Hebrews 4:12. He is speaking of the spiritual and not, flesh and blood. This sword is the Word of God to be used to protect yourself, your brothers and sisters AND to fight in the heavenly places of wickedness to protect those who don’t yet have the Light!!
That is where our battlefield lays and for way too long, we have been told and taught that it is at the sites of places where sin in the flesh abounds. As I have laid out, that is the very place we are to demonstrate Christ-like, Godly, Unconditional Love!! We are to pray for those that are trapped in the lives that we have been given a reprieve from, not curse them and cast them aside. They are God’s creation. Our Heavenly Father who loves us above all else and rescued us, loves ALL sinners the same and “desires that NONE should perish.” We as fellow creations should be fighting FOR their salvation where the real battlefield is and NOT fighting against them whom the Father still loves!!
This is where organized religion and the true church truly differ. The one rules by the flesh and the other is governed by the Spirit of Christ! Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” We need to stop listening to man and do what the Apostle Paul instructed those he taught in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Jesus shared His love with everyone, sinners and followers alike. The only reason He spoke harshly to some, were they were the ones that were supposed to know better because they had the truth in the Word. When He spoke to Peter and the Sons of Thunder and other disciples what seemed to be a bit harsh, it was because they had the Living Word walking with them and they should have known better.
So what am I say as far as being a soldier in the Spirit? Who is a soldier called to protect? What is a soldier’s mission? Is it not to fight for what is right and against that which is false? Is it not to protect the innocent and defend the rights of the country or Kingdom for which he has been called to defend?
Why not follow the example of Jesus Christ in Spirit, by loving ALL sinners, for we were ALL there at one time and save the preaching of sin for those who are supposed to know better, the people who have been freed from the bonds of slavery and yet still make choices that are counter-productive to a free and blessed life? Look at the Scriptures, it is there in black and white and in SPIRIT. Think for yourselves as the Holy Spirit leads you. Our battle is to protect those that don’t know the truth so that they might realize the truth. If we turn them away, who’s the one responsible for THEIR souls?
We have all been called to be warriors or soldiers in the Spirit whether we necessarily like it or not. It’s part of “working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” Let’s make sure we are taking the battle to the RIGHT battlefield!! Let me use the Scriptures to make this point even more valid, as found in the latter part of Ephesians 6 and verse 18, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—. “ Can it be any clearer where our fight should be as Christians? When Jesus comes back is He going to be able to say, “Well done though good and faithful servant,” or will He ask us why we destroyed the hopes of so many that He died on the cross for, because we fought them instead of the real enemy?
The world we live in today does not make it easy when sin is so blatantly in your face. But think of it this way; we were also blind once and we might have known what right and wrong was, but just knowing it didn’t pave the way for our redemption. The world today is where it is, because for too long, we have not spent the time to learn intimately from the Living Word, but have allowed others to tell us what we should know. We have not cross-checked their teachings as the Bereans did with the Apostle Paul’s teachings and so today, the spiritual wickedness that is over this world is much more rampant. Well, the church of our Lord is finally waking up and it is time to take the battle where the real fight is before it is too late for so many who need to know the truth. Let’s get back to wooing those in the dark, with the true Light of Love!!!