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2 Corinthians 10:4-6 & Ephesians 6:10-18 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:34 mins 22 secs

The Key to Defeating Demon Influence: 2 Cor. 10:4-6; Eph. 6:10-18

 

The Bible says that we are 24/7 soldiers in a spiritual conflict. Because we deal with an internal enemy known as the sin nature and two external enemies known as worldliness or cosmic thinking and the devil there is constantly a battle. The battle rages over everything in our life. There is no aspect of our life, of our relationships, our thought life, professional life, or anything that we are involved in that isn't supposed to be brought under the authority of the Word of God. That is the challenge for every believer in his spiritual life after salvation. Even though we are saved and are secure in that salvation, and we have an eternal destiny that cannot be taken from us, that is not the end; it is only the beginning. We need to learn. We need to learn about our new life, what has been done for us as believers, understanding what Christ did for us on the cross in all of its facets and dimensions; things that we will be learning about into eternity. There is so much related to it that we will never exhaust the work of Christ for the gospel in this life. The good news begins with the fact that Jesus died on the cross and we can have eternal life by trusting in Him (and Him alone), but also all that that entails in terms of what was given at the instant of salvation, that God has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness, and that affects every dimension of life.

 

The very creation of man is integral to the resolution of the angelic conflict, and by resolution is not simply meant that it demonstrates God's integrity, God's grace, though it does that, but it also will bring to a conclusion the work of divine judgment on evil as it exists in the cosmos—the evil introduced by Satan and the evil introduced the second time by Adam. This is all judged in the Tribulation period. So when we come to that seven-year period of time that culminates in Revelation chapter nineteen with the defeat of the Antichrist and the false prophet, and the binding of Satan in the abyss for 1000 years, this is part of that resolution. But it doesn't just have to do with this scope of history, it has to do with the place that you and I play in all of this, our role in the angelic conflict; that we are part of this cosmic conflict, part of this spiritual warfare. 1 Peter 5 teaches that Satan goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. We have a sin nature that is inclined toward rebellion against God.

 

Part of cosmic thinking is thinking that we can deal with issues in business, our profession, our marriage, our parenting responsibilities, in education, in our own personal ethics without necessarily being dependent upon God in every single thing. Yet that is what cosmic thinking is, this sense that there are areas of our life that we really don't have to bring into compliance under the authority of God and His Word. The second aspect of cosmic thinking has to do with antagonism, for once the creature asserts his independence from God, his autonomy, it is not long before he begins to resent God and to be antagonistic to God, His authority, those who teach His Word, those who seek to apply His Word. So the thinking of the cosmic system is based on these two foundation stones, as it were, of autonomy and antagonism. 

 

This is the struggle that we face in life, because from the time we were born we began to operate on our sin nature. We didn't have any other option so everything that we did from the very beginning of our life until the time that we were saved was totally based on our sin nature. During that time the thinking in our soul like a spiritual vacuum just sucked all the thinking of the world, much more than we realise—every rationale, every rationalisation, every justification, that we can to somehow short up our independence from God. Then we got saved, and now the issue is trying to unlearn all those bad thought patterns; not just bad overt habits but bad thought habits. Thought precedes action. The apostle Paul emphasises that this is our struggle, this is our war; and we never finish this war in this life. We never stop fighting the battle.

2 Corinthians 10:2 NASB "I ask that when I am present I {need} not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh." What Paul is talking about is that there are those in Corinth who are not believers, and even those who are carnal Christians who are looking at Christianity and the doctrines that Paul had taught as if it was just another equal option to the plethora of options that they had with all the different gods in the Greek pantheon. So as far as these unbelievers were concerned and some of the carnal Christians the life of the believer was really just like anybody else, they just had a different philosophy like every other philosophy, it is not categorically different. What Paul is arguing is that the Christian life is categorically different. All other religions, all worldly philosophies are all wrong, Christianity is exclusively the only true thing. [3] "For though we walk in the flesh [live in a material body], we do not war according to the flesh." That word "according" is based on a Greek preposition that means in accordance with a standard. In other words, there are standards, ideas, patterns, procedures that the world system has developed for handling the pressures, the difficulties, the challenges of life. We do not live life according to the same principles, procedures, the same problem-solving devices. Our weapons, our tools, the way in which we do things, not just what we do, is much more difficult than having to just feel our way through Christianity. The Christian life is based on thought, on understanding what God says and putting it into practice in life. [4] "for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh," and he uses the Greek verb strateuomai  [strateuomai] which has to do with the lifestyle of the soldier. The principles of our battles, how we fight is different from how unbelievers fight, and we have to understand that. They are "not of the flesh," and the flesh here means the sin nature. The sin nature has its own set of problem-solving devices, they are coping strategies. We hear people talk about learning stress management tactics. What the Bible says is that if we understand the promises of God and are living on the basis of the promises of God, the provision of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, then we don't live under our circumstances, we don't live under the struggle, we live on top of it. It doesn't mean we don't get a bit tired and weary in the process but it means that we go through these various struggles and can live on top of them. We don't just manage the problem, we have victory over them, we surmount them. We are in control of our mental attitude, our circumstances, the details of our lives. We are going to let the eternal truths of the Word of God define our mental attitude so that we can have real joy, genuine tranquillity and peace, in the midst of negative circumstances, whatever they are. So the way we handle this isn't the way that unbelievers handle things, we have a different set of problem-solving devices which encapsulate the spiritual life. "… but divinely powerful." That is not a really good translation because when you add ly on the end of a word that makes it an adverb and you don't have adverbs in the Greek text. So it should be translated "the power [dunamij]of God." We are relying not on our ability, our finite understanding, our finite power or ability but on the omnipotence of God. The omnipotence of God works in conjunction with the omniscience of God so that He knows all the details of whatever the problem is that we face, He is able to supply us with everything that we need through the power of God the Holy Spirit when He is filling us so that we are able to surmount these difficulties. "… for the destruction of fortresses." This is the Greek word ochuroma [o)xurwoma] which refers literally to a stronghold, a defence, a fortification, but it is often used metaphorically for anything that is deeply entrenched in our thinking—the patterns the habits that we develop from the time that we were small children to try to make life work, to try to deal with unpleasant people, unpleasant circumstances, without depending on God, without stopping and rehearsing promises in our mind, without reflecting on the attributes of God. So we have these stock habits, these thought patterns that are in our thinking, and we have this path that has been cut into our thinking, so that is our fall-back default position that whenever something goes wrong we fall back, lose our temper, get angry at somebody, blame somebody else, etc., whatever it is we have all these strategies to avoid dealing with personal responsibilities and personal problems.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB "{We are} destroying speculations…" This is the word logismos [logismoj] and it has to do with thinking. So it is the power of God for the destruction of these entrenched ways of thinking. So we are destroying these thought forms, these rationalisations, these speculations. It tells us that the battle in spiritual warfare is not a battle with external demons or with Satan, but that the primary battlefield takes place between our ears, in our thinking. Thinking can either be influenced by all the human viewpoint that it has stored over the decades or can be influenced by the truth of God's Word, and we have to exercise our volition. So Paul says we are destroying these speculations, and we have to do that a certain way. It is the same thing that he talks about in Romans 12:2, that we are not to be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are trying to remove human viewpoint thoughts, philosophies, attitudes and habits and replace them with divine viewpoint, habits, thoughts, procedures. He recognises that all of the human viewpoint thought systems are raised up against the knowledge of God. It is either one or the other, there is no neutral ground. We are either operating in dependence on God or in independence from God. If we are dependent on God we are operating on divine viewpoint, we are waking by means of the Spirit, and we are in a position where God's power is available to us to deal with any situation and thought in life. Learning things biblically isn't something that happens in a week or a day or a year, it is a lifetime process.

 "… and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." We are to take every thought, no just some thought. He is not even talking about the kind of thought, but every thought, and that applies to every area of intellectual activity. A lot of the things we get exposed to are not obvious. A lot of ideas are taken from ancient pagan practices and given new names that have been sterilised and made to sound very technological and taught in a new package. The only solution to this is when we really know the truth of God's Word because we can't go out there and study every act and spasm that comes along. But we can understand certain patterns. We have to develop critical thinking skills, and we don't do this by always hearing the same thing the same way. If we don't ever hear an opposing viewpoint we don't necessarily understand the differences and how to think clearly, we just get indoctrinated and don't learn how to think. What the Bible teaches us is that we have to learn how to think and we have to take every thought captive for Christ. This is just exhausting; it is going to take our whole life. But we do this just like everything else in the Christian life: one week at a time, one Bible class at a time, and over the course of time we begin to learn things and understand things, put things together, and we slowly, gradually, learning think biblically. Of course, that can't be done by showing up for Bible class once every week on Sunday morning. We have been indoctrinated by the cosmic system 24/7 for x-number of years before we ever knew there was an alternative. After salvation for many people they are still indoctrinated by the cosmic system and it takes them even more time before they get any solid biblical teaching. So to undo all of that mass brainwashing by the cosmic system they have to go through an intensified course of study for the rest of their lives in terms of how God thinks. That involves volition, discipline, making priority decisions on a day-to-day basis as to how we are going to spend time.

2 Corinthians chapter ten puts our focus on thinking: that the objective is to take every thought captive for Christ. That is an internal operation; it is what we do internally in terms of our own thought form. We also have some other things that we do in terms of this spiritual warfare related to spiritual discipline. Those are outlined under the metaphor of the armour of God in Ephesians 6:10ff.

Illustrations