Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 1: The Nature of the Battle – Ephesians 6:10-11

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
November 23, 2008

Spiritual Warfare, Pt. 1: The Nature of the Battle
Ephesians 6:10-11

 Introduction

This morning we begin a series on Spiritual Warfare. We have prepared for this with a short series on True Spirituality because if we are confused about that, then we will be easy prey for our adversary. If you have missed any of those sermons, please pick up a copy of the sermon notes or the audio CD’s. We began with a sermon on the nature and ministry of the Holy Spirit  followed by an exposition of 1 Corinthians 12-14. (See: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit  also Being Spiritual   and Being Unified in the Body and Being Loving and  Being Edifying)

The Corinthians thought they were spiritual, but in reality they were carnal and Paul had to correct their many errors. The tragedy is that there are still so many around in our own time that are like the Corinthians. For a variety of reasons they think they are spiritual, but they are in reality not so and are used as pawns by our adversary to create turmoil in the rest of the body. True spirituality is characterized by Biblical love and demonstrated in edification, building up the rest of the church.

It will take us about four months to get through our series on Spiritual Warfare. This is because it is important to understand what Paul is saying in Ephesians 6:10-20 and how it affects our daily lives. I will be taking quite a bit of time to make practical application of the principles and precepts contained in this passage. In addition, there is much confusion and nonsense taught on this subject even by those who are evangelicals, so it will take some time to clarify the truth of what God’s word says so that you can be settled in how God wants you to react in your own involvement with Spiritual Warfare.

The Nature of Our Battle

Paul begins this section starting n Ephesians 6:10 saying, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Please understand from the beginning that each one of us is involved in a spiritual battle and that this battle is more real and substantial than any other conflict on earth. The battles of men usually revolve around land, wealth and power. This often invisible battle is for the eternal souls of men. Will they repent and be saved from eternal damnation or will they succumb to the devil’s lies? Will the believer live successfully for God’s glory or will they be saved, but as through fire without eternal reward (1 Corinthians 3:15). This war is not optional. If you are breathing, then you are in it and your enemy is attacking whether you fight back or not. You need to understand the nature of this war and how it is to be fought so that you can have victory.

Common Societal Misconceptions

The common tendency is to think of spiritual warfare in terms of the spectacular manifestations of overt occultism. This would include things such as witches and warlocks, spell casting, mystical rituals, frightening creatures, apparitions, supernatural occurrences, psychic phenomena, etc. However, the reality is that most of our battles with Satan and his hosts are fought in the ordinary mundane things of life. It involves what you think and do on a daily basis, your set of priorities and the choices you make, your relationships with others, and your attitudes. We must be careful that we are not lead astray into false ideas, and there is much around us that would seek to lead us astray.

Some aspects of spiritual warfare are presented in such a way as to overwhelm us and thus make us afraid to enter into the battle lest we be overcome by things which we do not understand. Fear can easily manipulate us into wrong action or paralyze us into inaction. Other aspects of spiritual warfare are presented in the opposite extreme that downplay the reality of this war even to the point of portraying it as fun and games. The result of this is that we do not even recognize the serious nature of what is really happening because the evil in it has been so well disguised as either amoral and harmless or even as something good. Lies and distortions of the truth are a common tactic of our enemy to get us to accept the unacceptable. If we truly understand the nature of the war that is being raged all around us we will understand that it is vicious and we will prepare ourselves for it.

One of my great frustrations as a pastor, and one of the great tragedies in American Christianity, is how much the theology of most people is based on some book, magazine, movie or television show they have seen instead of the Bible. This is particularly true in this area of spiritual warfare.

The secular entertainment media has portrayed the involvement of the supernatural in the lives of humans in nearly every way possible except Biblically. It has tried to fill us with fear with its imaginative portrayal of the power and activity of Satan and his cohorts. It has also tried to belittle the reality of Satan and the demonic as either mythological or humorous. Let me give you a few examples of these.

Classic horror films revolve around some evil thing that is trying to harm the innocent. The Mummy and his ancient evil curse. The Werewolf, a man who changes into a predatory beast. Vampires that suck out the blood from terrorized victims. Frankenstein, a science experiment gone astray. Who knows what your body parts may do after you die? These were to frighten the audience with things that were both evil and beyond understanding. Whether it be Freddy Kruger, the Alien or any of the other evil beings of this genre, the message is the same. Some evil creature out there wants to get you!

There are also the stories that strike a little deeper and harder. These present evil creatures that are not physical, but are supernatural themselves or rely on supernatural powers. These stories center on ghosts and apparitions, demonic creatures, witches, and magical religions. Movies such as The Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Rosemary’s Baby, Poltergeist and their genre leave you wondering how you are to protect yourself. These movies mix distortion of the real spiritual battle with imagination and superstition. It is truth mixed with error, and so they are all the more frightening. You either leave the theater not wanting to have any involvement with spiritual things, or worse, you pick up the idea that your protection will come from some magical formula or objects used in the story. There are people that refuse to have anything to do with anything spiritual, including Christianity, because of their fear of the supernatural. There are others that become superstitious and victims of witch doctors and charlatans who sell them trinkets and potions to keep evil away. Movie mythology teaches that a cross to will keep Dracula and other evil creatures at bay. There are people that wear such jewelry with the idea that it will protect them. Others will purchase various amulets from shamans to protect them from different types of evil creatures or to counteract the spells evil people have supposedly cast upon them. Cloves of garlic around your neck are claimed to be able to protect you from evil entities, but what if it likes its food well seasoned? A garlic necklace or plaster probably will keep anyone from being affectionate with you or maybe even sitting near you.

Vampires, werewolves, living mummies, the Alien and Freddy Kruger are not taken seriously by any reasonable adult, but not all adults are reasonable. In addition, many reasonable adults do take seriously a lot of the implications of this genre of media resulting in superstitions becoming a part of their lives. Beware as well that children can be strongly affected by any of this stuff, so you need to censor what your children watch and that includes some of the Disney stuff too. These things are not just entertainment and harmless amusements. They are meant to teach you something and persuade you to a way of thinking.

Hollywood can also go the other way to poke fun at occultic practices and spiritual creatures. The spoof, Saturday the 14th, was in that genre, but so was the old TV comedy, Bewitched. These try to get you to laugh at what is occultic and in that way become more accepting of it. The old Archie comic books introduced the character Sabrina for the same purpose. These were later made into a cartoon series and ABC Family still has the program, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

Sometimes the occultic is portrayed in a positive manner in which what is actually demonic becomes a hero type. From the classic The Ghost and Mrs Muir to the comedy, Ghost Busters. In the 1970’s the popular TV Soap Opera, Dark Shadows, opened another door in this genre of entertainment. The vampire was a tortured individual, but somehow still good.

How many Sit-Coms and dramas use New Age thought and the directly occultic as their theme or at least it is included as a sub-theme? I think that those of you who watch TV for an hour or more daily could probably easily name many off the top of your head if you thought about it because even you do not watch that particular program they are advertised a lot. Here a few of the titles I took off the TV Guide listings that were shown this week that I assume contain at least some occultic material from either their title or description of a particular show. During prime time: WCBS – The Mentalist included a psychic; Ghost Whisper is still on the air. The following were included in the “family” listings: Dsny – Wizards of Waverly Place (werewovles). HBO-FW – Ghost Trackers, Ntoon – Secret Show, D-kids – Growing up Creepy, Tutenstein, DinoSapien, Power Rangers, Truth or Scare, Toon – Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, ABC Family – Death Note and WPIX has Supernatural which included demons.

The fact that so much of this is on what is supposed “family” programming tells you that children are targets. Children’s cartoons have contained occultic elements for many years. When I was a kid there was the relatively innocent “Casper, the Friendly Ghost,” but it was still an occultic theme. By the time I had kids of my own, even more discretion was required. Master’s of the Universe included occultic practices and even the Smurfs and Care Bears had to rely on magical spells or objects. Then there are children’s toys and video / computer games. Hours could be spent describing the occultic elements in them.

My point is that the secular media outlets present the spiritual battle in both extremes as either something to be afraid of, or something fabricated to laugh at. In either case, the true nature of what is real is distorted. If we base our beliefs on something other than the Scriptures, then we will have a distorted vision of reality. We will not be able to be respond properly. We will be easy prey for the devil whom 1 Peter 5:8 describes as a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour. If you are not prepared then you are subject to becoming lion chow.

Common Christian Misconceptions

Have you been affected by the beliefs of our society? How many of you believe in ghosts? Are ghosts real? No, but demonic apparitions and manifestations are real. Do you believe in magic? No, but Demons do posses considerable power and can do supernatural things. Witches and other occultists can tap into demonic activity to cast so called “magic.” It is not magic, it is just demonic. And be aware that there is not “good” so called “white” magic, and “bad” so called “black” magic. There is only demonic activity within “magic.” (Please not that I am not referring to the slight of hand of in what are called “magic” shows). Formulas, special concoctions, and occultic objects are not magical in themselves for either evil or defense of evil. All of it is only powerful as it is empowered by demons. Do you believe in “lucky” or “unlucky” items? How many people do you know that have a “lucky” rabbit’s foot (not so lucky for the rabbit), a lucky penny, a crucifix, “power” crystals, St. Christopher, etc. or they avoid Black cats, Friday the 13th, and graveyards after dark? These superstitions are given power because people believe them to be true and then act accordingly.

There are many professing Christians who are caught up in these superstitions and misconceptions. Within the Evangelical camp many people can easily be caught up in sensationalism. Frank Peretti’s books, This Present Darkness, & Piercing the Darkness are examples. When they were first published, they made quite a stir in the Christian community. While I appreciated the fact that those books drew attention to the fact that there is a real spiritual battle, and many Christians were stirred back to prayer, I found the theology taught in them very disturbing. Those that dismiss such concerns because they were “only novels” have their heads in the sand. Novels and stories are not without consequences for they do influence what people belief and therefore also their behavior. They teach the worldview of the author. Keep that in mind whenever you read a story or watch a dramatized story in a theatre, TV or a movie. In the case of Peretti’s books, they also taught a specific theology.

Peretti was an Assembly of God pastor before he wrote his fictional books, and his theology of angels, demons and prayer presented in those books is in keeping with the AOG doctrinal position, but it is not good Biblical Theology.

Peretti describes a demon as “a bug, a bat, a black, bulb-eyed thing, its dark wings whirring, its breath pouring out like a long yellow ribbon. It just couldn’t fly fast enough, but clawed the air with its spidery arms, desperate for speed and shrieking in total panic.” Other demons are described as: “a long, slithering spirit” another as “a loud-mouthed, boasting imp.” Angels are described as: “a brilliant comet with wings of fire tracing a glimmering trail and a sword of lightning outstretched in burly bronze hands.”

Perreti describes a battle between a demon and an angel as follows: “The black thing and the comet shot into the sky over Bacon’s Corner, zigzagging, shooting this way and that like wild fireworks. Then the forest, like a row of cannons, spewed out more hideous creatures, at least twenty, each one fleeing in utter panic with a dazzling, flaming figure tenaciously on its tail, scattering in all directions like a crazy metro shower in reverse. The first demon was running out of tricks and maneuvers; he could feel the heat of the warrior’s blade right at his heels. He spit over his shoulder, ‘No, turn away, I am going!’ The fiery blade cut an arc through the air, the demon met it with his own and the blow sent him spinning. He corrected with his wings, turned and faced his assailant, shrieking, cursing, parrying blow after blow, looking into the fiery eyes of more power, more glory, more holiness than he’d ever feared before. And he could see it in those eyes – the warrior would never turn away. Never. The demon withered even before the blade struck its final blow; it slipped from the earth, from the world of mankind, into outer darkness, gone in a tumbling puff of red smoke.”

An exciting story, but not for teaching proper theology. Where in Scripture are demons described as ugly, grotesque creatures? Demons are fallen angels, Satan is described as appearing as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Where in the Bible do you have Angels and Demons fighting in even remotely similar to this description of a demon being struck by an angelic sword and being vanquished in a puff of red smoke. Angels are eternal creatures. What descriptions there are of their fighting seems to be wrestling, not sword play.

We also have to be very careful that we do not reduce our prayers to magical formulas that if I pray this certain thing in this certain way, then this will happen. Prayer is personal communication with the living God, not an incantation. Do you really think you are able to manipulate God to get what you want? Praying in the “name of Jesus” is not a magical formula that forces God to give to you what you want. It means to ask in accordance with what Jesus would want. God is not obligated by your ability to repeat certain words. You must be careful from letting your prayers be reduced to formulas and magical incantations. You must instead remain in humble communication with the Living God.

I cannot stress enough that our ideas and beliefs about spiritual warfare must arise from the Bible itself and not the sensationalism of fiction writers, Christian or not, or any of the material put out by the secular media. If we do not know the truth and live according to it, then we are easy prey for our adversary.

The Biblical Description

What then is real? What is false? What is the true nature of the spiritual battles we face?

Spiritual warfare is both sensational and subtle. There are aspects of it that are beyond us, and there are aspects that are around us attacking us quietly and unobtrusively. Over the next few months we will get a clear picture of both. Let us begin by examining what Paul says here in Ephesians 6:10-12.

Paul begins the verse with “finally.” The sense here is not that this is the last thing in my letter, though it is the last major topic of the letter. It is written in the sense, “as for what you still have to do in addition to the rest already mentioned.” What still has to be done? “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”

If you think through what God has already done for us, and Paul has cited many specifics throughout his letter to the Ephesians, then it is only reasonable that we find our strength in Him. After all, it is God that chose us before the foundation of the world for Salvation (Ephesians 1:4). He redeemed us through the bloody, sacrificial death of Jesus and extended forgiveness of our trespasses and sin through Christ (Ephesians 1:7). God also gave us the Holy Spirit as His pledge of His promises to us (Ephesians 1:13-14). Our very life is due to Him since we were dead in our sins but He made us alive with Christ and the Lord did so purely because of His gracious love toward us (Ephesians 2:1-9). Even our good works are a response to what God has done for us in creating us in Christ Jesus and He even prepared those good works for us beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Everything that God commands us to do is both reasonable and an avenue of being strengthened for our battle with our adversary, the devil, and his demonic host. Using our spiritual gifts for the building up of one another (Ephesians 4:11-16), living righteous lives (Ephesians 4:17-5:14), being in submission to the Holy Spirit and singing God’s praises (Ephesians 5:15-21) as well as having proper relationships within the family (Ephesians 5:22-6:3) and on our jobs (Ephesians 6:5-9) all put us in a better position to wage the spiritual war we are in. These are all the things we should already be doing.

Being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might is preliminary preparation for battle. It will do you no good to put on armor and go into battle if you have no source of strength. Can you imagine some knight of old putting on all that heavy armor and trying to go into battle when he is sick and weak with the flu? You know what will happen. Despite his armor, he will be cut down by the enemy very quickly because he will have no strength to lift the shield, move out of harm’s way with his feet, or parry the enemy’s blows with his sword. The preliminary step in preparation for battle is to be strong. And in this spiritual battle your own strength can never be enough. Trying to go against the demonic in your own power is infinitely worse than a knight of old trying to fight while having the flue.

In Acts 19:13-16 we have a story of some men trying to fight demons in their own power. There were seven sons of a man named Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who went from place to place attempting to cast out evil spirits. They came to Ephesus and sought to exorcize some evil spirits by invoking the name of Christ as an incantation saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Verse 15 records that the evil spirit responded, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Verse 16 tells us what happened next, “And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” I doubt very much that this was the outcome they were expecting.

In order to be strong in the Lord we have to be abiding in Him (John 15) which means to draw your life from Him. This requires trust and obedience to His will. Our ability to do anything for Christ is only because He has enabled us to accomplish it. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given to us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Isaiah 40:28-31 reminds us, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Your strength for the battle comes from the Lord, not from yourself.

Paul tells us next to “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). We have to place upon ourselves the panoply of God. That means we must put on all the armor of warfare which God provides for us. It is important to understand and emphasize that the battle armor that we are to put on is given to us by God. The theologian Charles Hodge correctly warned “men have always been disposed to trust [the arms] which they provide for themselves or which have been prescribed by others. Seclusion from the world (i.e. flight rather than conflict), ascetic and ritual observances, invocation of saints and angels, and especially, celibacy, voluntary poverty, and monastic obedience . . .”. This is the armor of false religion, not the armor of God.

The reason for the armor is so that we may be able to “stand firm” against the “schemes” of the devil. The word here, “stand firm” (isthmi / histemi) is a military term meaning to “hold your position.” The word translated “schemes” or “wiles” (meqodeia / methodeia) is the Greek word from which we get our word “method.” The slanderer, the devil, has many methods by which he seeks to attack people. The devil will seek to know our weaknesses so that his attack can be against our most vulnerable position. Even so, we are to hold our position against them.

We will talk about how to do this in specific ways in the weeks to come. But please note here who we are to stand firm against. One of the greatest schemes the devil uses against the Church was stated well by Warren Wiersbe, “We are wasting our time fighting people when we ought to be fighting the devil who seeks to control people and make them oppose the work of God.” The devil wants our focus off the spiritual battle and onto personal conflict. This is brought out again in verse 12 in which Paul clarifies it again that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood . . .”. People are not the problem. Sin and the devil are the problem, and if we lose that focus, we succumb to his schemes. We not only waste our time and energy, but more seriously, we place ourselves in even greater danger, and we become obstructions to the gospel message.

We need the full compliment of the armor of God because the devil is scheming, methodical, in trying to find our weak areas so that he can attack. We also need it because Satan has a well-organized horde of demonic followers. Verse 12 goes on to say that “our struggle is” . . . “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The KJV translates this as “we wrestle,” and that is a good description of our struggle. The word here, palh / pale , is descriptive of face to face combat. This is hand to hand fighting. You are in front line action. This is not sitting back somewhere and shooting objects at the enemy who is miles away. I fear that sometimes we think of prayer in that manner of shooting out a prayer to hold at bay the enemy who is miles away. The truth is we are being attacked on the personal level, so we had better be prepared to both defend ourselves and go on the offensive.

Paul divides the demonic host into ranks. Revelation 12:4 indicates that a third of the angels fell and followed Satan. This is a vast army, and it is organized. Here this organization of this horde is described as 1. Principalities or rulers. 2. Powers or forces. 3. World-forces of this darkness. & 4. Spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Some have tried to specify the abilities and duties of each of these ranks. Frankly, I don’t know and I am not concerned about that. The Bible does not give detail on these matters. We know that a demon referred to as the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” withstood the angel sent to answer Daniel’s prayer for 21 days until the angel Michael, called one of “the chief princes” came to help (Daniel 10:13). Angles and demons are both ranked, but the ranking and ability of any particular demon is unimportant to us. What is important is that these demonic ranks attack from the heavenlies to the personal level. I need to be prepared for whatever involvement God calls me to by standing firm in Him.

Conclusion

There are many misconceptions even within evangelical Christianity about spiritual warfare. We must understand the truth about it or we will be led astray to believe lies which will leave us unprepared and vulnerable to the attacks of our adversary. The true nature of spiritual warfare is our scheming adversary and his ranks send personal attacks that seek to exploit your weaknesses and cause you to waver and refrain from living for God and His glory. You cannot fight this war in your own strength. You must be strong in the Lord and put on all the armor that He supplies in order to stand firm in the battle. Next week we will consider our adversary and his nature, and in the weeks following we will consider each piece of armor the Lord supplies so that we can stand firm.

The next sermon in this series is: Spiritual Warfare, Part 2: Our Adversary)

 

Sermon Notes – 11/23/2008

Spiritual Warfare, Part 1: The Nature of the Battle – Ephesians 6:10-12

Introduction

The Corinthians thought they were spiritual, but they were ______& Paul had to correct their many errors

True spirituality is characterized by Biblical ________ and demonstrated edification.

The Nature of Our BattleEphesians 6:10 -12

This often invisible battle is for the eternal ______of men and the glory of God, not land, wealth or power.

Common Societal Misconceptions

Misconception: Spectacular manifestations of _______ occultism:

Reality: Most of our battles with Satan and his hosts are fought in the _____________things of life

Spiritual warfare can be presented in such a way as to overwhelm us and thus make us ________

Spiritual warfare can be portrayed as fun and games, something to laugh at and not take ___________

Horror films seek to make you __________- something frightening is out there

Demonic portrayals cause fear to be involved with spiritual things, or teach you __________for protection

Not all adults are ___________, and many people do pick up superstitions from horror stories / movies

Occultic ideas can be presented in a humorous or even ___________ manner to make it more acceptable

Many current _____________ include New Age thought and even the directly occultic & demonic.

_____________ are particular targets – are you showing discretion in what you let them see and do?

Those not prepared are easy prey for the _____who roams as a roaring lion seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8)

Common Christian Misconceptions

Many ______________ hold to superstitions or reject the actual power of the demonic

Novels / books / stories by evangelicals can teach superstition and incorrect _____________

Peretti’s books are exciting, but their portrayal of demons, angels and spiritual warfare is not __________

Prayer is personal communication with the living God, not an _____________

If we do not know the ___________ and live according to it, then we are easy prey for our adversary

The Biblical Description

Ephesians 6:10 – “____________” in the sense of “as for what you still have to do in addition to the rest”

In view of what ________ has already done for us, it is reasonable that we find our strength in Him

God has _______us, redeemed us by Jesus’ death, forgiven us, given us the Holy Spirit, made us _______

We are strengthened spiritually by using our spiritual _____to edify, living righteously, __________to the Holy Spirit, and having proper relationships in our __________and work.

Being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might is preliminary preparation for _______________

Acts 19:13-16 describes men trying to fight _____________ in their own power – they are overwhelmed

We must _______in Christ – trust and obey Him – to be strong in Him (John 15; 1 Tim. 1:7; Isaiah 40:28-31)

God _____________ us with armor that enables us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil

stand firm” (i{sthmi / hist mi) is a military term meaning to “__________ your position.”

schemes” / “wiles” (meqodeiva / methodeia) from which we get our word “___________.”

Sin and the devil are the problem, not __________. If we lose that focus, we succumb to his schemes

“Struggle” / “wrestle” – (pavlh / pal ) is descriptive of face to face ____________.

We are attacked on a ____________ level, so we must be prepared to fight at that level.

Demons are fallen ___________ and they are organized and ranked.

KIDS CORNER
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the words “warfare” is mentioned. 2) Talk with your parents about the shows & movies you see that include supernatural creatures and magic.

THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Were the Corinthians spiritual? Why or why not? What is the danger of having a wrong concept of spirituality? What characterizes true spirituality? What gives practical demonstration of being truly spiritual? Why is spiritual warfare more serious than human warfare? What was your general belief about the nature of spiritual warfare prior to this sermon? How have you seen the Occultic portrayed in a way to cause fear? How have you seen it portrayed in a way to trivialize it? Do you know people who take horror tales seriously? Are you superstitious? If so, about what and why? Do you know people who are superstitious? Are any of them professing Christians? How have you seen Occultic / demonic elements / materials included in children’s stories, toys and games? How have you protected your children / grandchildren from Occultic / demonic influence? How have you seen Occultic / demonic elements portrayed in stories by professing Christians? Can you discern if their theology is Biblical or not? If so, what theological errors have you noticed? If not, what can you do to protect yourself from wrong theology? Can prayer be used as an incantation to force God to do something? Why or why not? Why do many professing Christians approach prayer as an incantation? What has God already done for you personally to enable you to find strength in Him? How can living in general obedience to God’s command strengthen you for spiritual battle? What can happen to those that enter spiritual warfare in their own strength? What does it mean to “abide” in Christ? Describe what it means to “stand firm.” What is being referred to by the “schemes” or “wiles” of the devil? Conflict with other people is a normal part of life, when then are people not the real problem in our spiritual battles? What do the terms “struggle” or “wrestle” tell us about the nature of spiritual warfare? How does this help you prepare for it?

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