Welcome, I’m glad you all are here today at Christ’s Community Church for the final week of our series “Ghost Walk”. If you have your Bibles with you today we’re looking at God’s Word in second Corinthians. And we’re looking at how the Christian filled with the Holy Spirit walks in victory. So turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 10, at verse three and we’ll get started.
If you remember, in the first week, we looked at John’s gospel, at chapter 16, where Jesus said, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). And he promised the Holy Spirit, the One called the comforter, the counselor, and the helper; who would be with you and be in you (John 14:17). Then in week number two, Jesus said, when the Holy Spirit comes “You will receive power.” And we saw how the Spirit gives us power to share Christ boldly, power when you’re weak, power to have hope, and power to experience the fullness of God. And last week, we looked at spiritual gifts, gifts given to all believers, and we saw how the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives in those who believe. So this has been amazing as we’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit, re-filled with the Holy Spirit, and together are walking with the Holy Spirit.
Today, we’re going to talk about “Walking in Victory”, we’re going to talk about the spirit realm, and how that comes to play in the natural world in which we live. You see, one of the great mistakes of the Church today is that they either overemphasize the supernatural or they underemphasize the supernatural, and most commonly what they do is they underemphasize it, diminish it, or even deny it, and so what we want to do is get a biblical perspective. So we’re going to look at the Scriptures and we’re going to begin in Second Corinthians chapter 10 and see how this plays out in our lives.
Chapter 10, verse three says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4, NIV)
You see, we live in the world, but there is a spiritual war raging, because as Jesus said, “the Prince of this world is coming” (John 14:30), “the Prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11), and therefore Jesus warned, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). You see, there’s a physical world and then there’s a spiritual world. Jesus said, “You are from below; I am from above” (John 8:23). And in the spiritual realm surrounding us there is this ongoing battle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, to which Peter said, “I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11). So in the flesh, in the physical world, there is a war raging for our souls. This war began in the heavenlies, in the spirit world, and when we engage in this battle we don’t fight with the weapons of this world.
We don’t fight with explosives, we don’t fight with guns, or even nunchucks. This isn’t some G.I. Joe or ninja type of warfare… “The weapons we fight with… have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). So this is a very real spiritual battle and as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, serving our commanding officer, we fight by faith, with prayer, and God’s Word. Ephesians chapter 6 goes into greater detail and we’ll look at that. Verse ten tells us, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). You see, this is important, because we’re not strong enough to win this battle in our own strength. It’s a divine power. It’s in his mighty power... God’s mighty power. So my first point as we’re walking in victory is that, “You are strong in the Lord.”
The Bible goes on to say in verse 11, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). You see, we have a very real enemy, his name is Satan, and he hates your guts. He’s scheming, planning, and plotting how he can hurt you. Jesus described it this way, “He comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). So you need to put on the full armor of God, so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians verse twelve says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). So this battle isn’t against people, it’s not against the government, against the media, Hillary Clinton, or whoever. Your battle is against “the powers of this dark world” and against “the spiritual forces of evil”. The spiritual world is just as real as the physical world that you see and that’s why the Bible tells us, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
What we see is not all there is, so we have to learn, understand, and embrace the truth that what we see with our physical eyes is not all that there is. There’s a whole another dimension out there that’s just as real and even more powerful than what we know. You see, right now you may see this pulpit, you may see me, but let me assure you that there’s a whole other dimension out there, there is so much more going on around me and around this building… if only we could see, but “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Co 5:7). If you had spiritual eyes to see this other the world, this battle, this reality that influences our physical world, you would know number 2, that you’re never alone.
If you could only see the spirit world, the angels and demons, the forces of light pushing back the forces of darkness. In fact, this morning, if you’re struggling, if you’re going through a battle, you’re going through something very difficult, something demanding right now, remember you’re not alone. In your struggles, in your battles, you are never alone. There’s a promise given in Joshua chapter 1, quoted again in Hebrews chapter 13, which tells us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid…" (Hebrews 13:5-6). Never alone… if only we could see!
In 2 Kings there’s an interesting story that illustrates this point. In chapter 6, the King of Aram was getting frustrated, because every time he planned a raid on the people of God, the Lord tipped off the prophet Elisha and he would warn the King of Israel. One of Ben Hadad’s officers discovered what was going on and told the King, “Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the King of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom”. Enraged, the King “sent horses and chariots and a strong force…by night and they surrounded the city”. 2 Kings chapter 6, verse 15 says, “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.” You see, he panicked, because he saw enemy forces everywhere. So he’s like, “We’re outnumbered… there are troops and horses everywhere.” But the prophet Elisha said, "Don't be afraid… Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And in verse 17, “Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:12-17).
You see, Elisha prayed and God opened the servant’s eyes to see in the spiritual realm. He became aware that he wasn’t in the battle alone. That God’s angels and warriors were everywhere, they were surrounding them, protecting them in the spiritual world. And he realized that there was so much more than his eyes could see. That brings us to our next point. Number 3, you have powerful prayers.
Your prayers are more powerful than you could ever imagine. In the book of Daniel there’s an amazing illustration of this in chapter 10. Now Daniel had been fasting and praying seeking God, and it seemed as if nothing was happening, weeks had passed, when suddenly an Angel appear before him, a messenger of God, and in Daniel chapter 10, at verse 12, the Angel says, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard…” The very moment that Daniel had prayed, God heard and went to work on his behalf. The Angel continued and said, “I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future” (Daniel 10:12-14).
Isn’t that amazing? The moment Daniel prayed, God heard his prayer and sent an angel, but for 21 days this angel wrestled with this evil spirit. The angel was detained in the spirit world until Michael, the archangel appeared, holding back this demonic spirit, and allowing the first angel to deliver God’s message into this world. You see, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Our enemy, our adversary, Satan and his demonic forces are very real and are resisting and hindering everything good in the world; but your prayers are powerful, your prayers release the power of heaven, and therefore number 4, you have overcome.
But don’t stop praying, keep praying, because 1 Peter tells us, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The enemy is seeking to destroy you. He wants to devour anything that belongs to God. He wants to destroy everything that matters to God. He wants to take you out, to destroy your marriage with divorce, to tempt you to sin and disqualify you from sharing the gospel, to get you and your kids hooked on drugs, pornography, and every other self-destructive lifestyle. He wants you to be lost in debt and financial bondage. He wants to afflict you with sickness, disease, and pain; and he’ll do everything that he can to destroy your relationship with God.
But what you see, what you are experiencing, and what you’re walking through today, is not all there is. There’s the spirit world… and the Bible tells us how to participate in this spiritual battle, how to engage Heaven’s armies, and how to walk in victory. Ephesians chapter 6, at verse 13 tells us, “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…” And verse 14, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…” The truth that prepares you for battle. It’s that solid stance, that conviction, with which you can stand firm, taking a blow at your faith. The truth buckled around your waist prepares you for that.
Verse 14 continues, with “the breastplate of righteousness in place...” You see, the heart is deceitful, it will lie to you, and it will lead you into unrighteousness. But the breastplate of righteousness protects your heart, keeps you from temptation, it covers you. And so when God sees you, he sees the righteousness of his Son Jesus Christ in place.
And verse 15… “With your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” You can run when your feet are fitted, when they’re shod, when they’re covered with the gospel of peace. You can stand fixed in the middle of the battle with firm footing having that supernatural peace that goes beyond understanding.
And then verse 16 tells us, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” When you’re in the battle and your enemy shoots those flaming arrows, hurls those accusations that you, you defeat them with the shield of faith. You hold up the shield of faith and you shout back right in his face, “I am who Christ says I am, he says that I’m an overcomer, he says that the one in me is greater than the one who’s in the world, he says that God has plans to bless me, to prosper me, and to give me a hope and a future. He says that God is working in all things to bring about good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose.”
And verse 17, “Take the helmet of salvation…” Before the battle you make sure the helmet of salvation is in place. Jesus saved you, sacrificed himself for you, shed his blood and purchased you, because of who he is and what he did. When you know that, your head is protected, and you’re safe and secure in Christ.
And take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” You fight with the sword of the Spirit. It’s sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart, the Word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12).
And then verse 18 tells us, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” And so you recognize that as a believer in Christ, you have access to the very throne room of God, to approach him boldly and get help in your time of need. So “With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” You need other believers to pray for you, to encourage you, and to hold you accountable. You need others who will stand with you in the battle, who will stand with you no matter what, and as we do battle, we don’t fight with the weapons of this world, but with the weapons of the spiritual world. You have overcome, because you’ve got the belt of truth buckled, the breastplate of righteousness in place, feet fitted with shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and you can pray in the Spirit on all occasions calling upon the power of God to do battle on your behalf.
You see, as believers, we don’t fight for victory, instead, we fight from victory. Jesus Christ has already won the battle. In fact, the Bible says in 1 John 4:4, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” Therefore, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Let’s pray together as we make application of God’s Word.
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
303 West Lincoln Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
October 25, 2015