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Spiritual Things: Part 5 – Spiritual Warfare

First Baptist Church https://fbcbartow.org

“Spiritual Things: Part 5 – Spiritual Warfare” 

Series: Spiritual Things [on screen] 

Rev. Matthew C. McCraw, EdD 

First Baptist Church, Bartow, Florida 

June 7, 2020 

Introductory Comments: 

When it comes to spiritual things, there is perhaps no topic that attracts as much interest as spiritual warfare. Many sermons have been preached and many books have been written about spiritual warfare.

Yet, I dare say that the average Christian doesn’t understand the most important aspect of spiritual warfare. However, after this message, I pray that all those tuning in will properly understand spiritual warfare. 

Before we dive into this topic, let’s go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to teach us.


We are continuing our series called “Spiritual Things.” [on screen] Thus far we have discussed Heaven, Hell, angels, and demons. Today, we’ll bring this sermon series to a close by discussing spiritual warfare. [on screen]

Now, bear in mind that this is part five of a five-part series. So, as we study this topic, we are doing so in the context of the four that we’ve already studied. 

As we examine this topic of spiritual warfare, we will discover three foundations upon which we can stand when facing spiritual warfare.

We’re going to start our discussion today learning about some of the popular aspects of spiritual warfare; then transition to something that is not as widely discussed, but is perhaps more important; and finally, we will conclude with a truth that should bring us great encouragement.

Here’s the first foundation of spiritual warfare for us to discover:

I. Be conscious of the presence of evil forces. [on screen]

We must first grasp the reality that there are spiritual forces around us, some of which are evil.

Over the last two sermons, we talked about the reality of angels, both good and evil, who are in the spiritual realm, and who are present on this earth. If you need to refresh your understanding of that you can do so by reviewing the previous sermons on our YouTube channel or our church website. 

So, we must be conscious that there are evil spiritual forces around us, perhaps even now in the place where we are watching this. We learned all of this in the last two sermons.

On that note, we must remember that God has allowed the devil to have dominion over the world to a certain extent and for a certain period of time. In fact, the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” [on screen] So, even though Satan is clearly not a deity, or a god, he is given authority to rule during this time to the point that he is called “the god of this age.”

The great Christian author and thinker C. S. Lewis said in his book Mere Christianity, “Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is.” The world in which we live is occupied by our enemy Satan and his demons. 

This reminds me of a scene from the great movie, The Lion King, where Simba and Nala, two lion cubs, venture into hyena-occupied territory. This place is called the elephant graveyard. Even though Simba’s dad, Mufassa, is the king of all the pride land, the elephant graveyard is controlled by the hyenas.

Indeed, God is in control of all things, but the world is not our permanent home, and while on the earth we face the reality of evil spiritual forces. We are in enemy-occupied territory.  

Yet, as followers of Jesus, we are not to live in fear.

God is sovereign and Jesus has ultimately conquered the devil. This is a truth that we will discuss more in a moment.

Still, we are to prepare for and engage in spiritual battle while here.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4,“3 For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, 4 since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds.” [on screen] There is a type of battle that is different than physical battle. It is a more important battle. It is a spiritual battle.

Well, how are we to battle against these spiritual forces? It’s important to point out that the responsibility for victory lies with Jesus, not with us. That’s worth repeating: the responsibility for victory lies with Jesus, not with us. 

At the same time, through the power of Jesus, we can prepare ourselves for spiritual battle. This is where we come to the crucial passage of Ephesians 6:10-18, which we refer to as the armor of God.

Let’s look at the passage: “10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” [on screen]

So, we have here this armor of God, which equips us for spiritual battle.

First of all, notice that it’s by the strength of God that we are equipped. This is not our own strength, it is the strength of God.

Second, notice why we are to put on the armor. So, we can stand against the schemes of the devil. Again, in verse 13 it says, “so that you may be able to resist in the evil day.” This is not so we can attack the devil, but that we can defend ourselves against the devil. Let Jesus handle the attacks, we’ll handle our defense. 

Therefore, we are to resist, defend, and stand with truth like a belt, righteousness like armor on our chests, readiness for the gospel of peace like a pair of sandals, the shield of faith to defend against the arrows of the devil, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Then, we are reminded by Paul of the importance of prayer in the Holy Spirit. We must pray when faced with the threat of evil because it taps into our dependence upon God and it unleashes the power of God in us. We need God to defend us and we need God to equip us. So, we pray. 

Finally, we are to stay alert for our own wellbeing and to intercede for the wellbeing of others. Verse 18 says, pray at all times, for ourselves and for others. 

Let me just tell you, church, there is so much armor to focus upon. If we put our focus on these things mentioned by Paul we will do well in spiritual battle. 

Again, this spiritual battle wear helps us stand firm in our faith and defend ourselves against evil attacks.  

We must be ready because we will be attacked.

One of Satan’s most dangerous attacks against us is to tempt us into sin. 

That takes us to our next foundation:

II. Be cautious of the danger of your sin. [on screen]

Let me clear, church: the most dangerous tool that Satan has against you is the ability to tempt you to sin.

Satan cannot cause you to sin, but he sure can tempt you to sin. You must understand that your sin is dangerous.

We are not to give Satan an inch in the spiritual battle that takes place in our hearts.  

Ephesians 4:27 says, “ . . . don’t give the devil an opportunity.” [on screen] If you give the devil any opportunity he will jump on the chance to lead you to sin.

For those of you who played sports, or are a sports fan, you know that when your team is up with a big lead you can’t let up on the effort to win. If you do give an opportunity to the other team, be sure that they may come from behind and they may end up defeating you. You can’t give any opportunity to be defeated! Don’t give an opportunity to Satan!

Remember the words of Peter in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” [on screen] Peter follows this up with a charge to, “Resist him, firm in the faith . . .” [on screen] We are to be alert for the devil and his demons and we are to resist him and his temptations.

Be sure that Satan has no power over the follower of Jesus Christ. James says helpfully in James 4:7 “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” [on screen] If we submit ourselves to God, then we can resist the devil, AND HE WILL FLEE!

Satan has no power over a follower of Jesus unless we give him opportunity. One of my favorite preachers, John Piper, said this concerning this spiritual warfare, “Nobody goes to hell because of Satan. The only reason we go to hell is because of sin. Much more important than fighting Satan is fighting sin . . .” He continues, “My biggest enemy is not Satan, my biggest enemy is John Piper.”

So, the greatest enemy against us is our own sin. Likewise, the greatest defense that we have is to be alert to the temptations of the evil one and to resist the evil one.

Sometimes we give Satan credit for consequences in our lives when in reality it’s a result of our sin. Resist sin!

Romans 13:14 says,“ . . .put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.” [on screen] We are to put on Jesus, so we can put off the temptations of evil.

Ephesians 6 and the section about the armor of God is all about us making ourselves more like Jesus and putting on more of Jesus so we can stand firm and defend ourselves. We must be cautious and wary of evil and the temptations of evil in our hearts, minds, and lives.

The old theologian John Owen, in his book The Mortification of Sin, said, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

We are to submit to God, equip ourselves with godly characteristics, be alert concerning evil, and be prepared to resist evil. 

Let us pray, let us be righteous, let us be like Jesus, let us flee evil.

And, let us stand upon this final foundation for spiritual warfare:

III. Be comforted by the promise of Jesusvictory. [on screen]

There is power in the work of Jesus!

We are promised victory in the work of Jesus! Satan will not win! He and all his evil angels will one day be cast into hell to suffer eternal punishment!

Let the words of the Bible bring you assurance on this foundational truth. 

First John 4:3-4 says, “3 . . . every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” [on screen]

Colossians 2:15 says, “He [that’s Jesus] disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.” [on screen]

In Luke 10 Jesus spoke to His early followers, who were experiencing special miracles during a special time in the life of the Church. They were telling Him about all that was happening in their ministry, and Jesus told them to rejoice more than anything else that they had a home in Heaven. They said to Jesus in Luke 10:17, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” [on screen] Jesus responded in Luke 10:20, “ . . . don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” [on screen]

A relationship with Jesus is better than anything else.

Remember these words from last week’s sermon. Hebrews 2:14 says, “. . . through his death he might destroy the one holding the power of death—that is, the devil” [on screen]

Jesus is stronger than any evil force and He is better than any evil temptation!

Be comforted by the promise of Jesus’ victory.

Concluding Thoughts: 

Evil is real, there is a battle taking place between good and evil over the souls of mankind, the greatest threat to your spiritual victory is your own sin, and Jesus brings the ultimate victory!

That takes us to our bottom line:

Bottom Line: The greatest battle in spiritual warfare is the choice between sin or Jesus. [on screen]


Sometimes, when we think of spiritual warfare we think of great battles with clashing swords. Sometimes, that’s what happens. However, sometimes it’s more about the battle over sin. 

Satan and his demons are trying to push people towards sin and away from Jesus. The  angels of God are yearning for us to come beside them and worship and glorify Him. They are calling us to come to Jesus.

Run away from sin and run towards Jesus. Don’t flirt with evil, don’t explore the dark side of things, don’t yearn for sin. Run to Jesus!

Challenge yourself this week to live out this sermon in the following ways:

Weekly Challenge: [on screen]

1. Reject the forces of evil. [on screen]

We’ve already talked about this a lot. However, take some time this week and make a conscious commitment to reject the forces of evil.

Remember the weekly challenge from last week: don’t be like the demons! Don’t cuddle up with evil, be repulsed by evil, including the evil that seeks to infiltrate your heart. 

2. Rejoice in Jesus. [on screen]

Again, one of the greatest ways to avoid evil is to get closer to Jesus. 

So, rejoice in the promises of Jesus. Rejoice that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Rejoice that He has a home in Heaven for you. Rejoice that He has power over sin. 

3. Recruit others to Jesus. [on screen]

One of the greatest ways you can fight against evil, in addition to fighting sin in your own heart, is to bring the rescue from sin to others. Recruit others to come alongside you and follow Jesus!

One of the sayings in our youth ministry is, “Developing deeper friendship with God and bringing everyone else we can with us.” I love that! Let us all do that! Let us all go deeper with God and bring others along!

Fight evil by bringing others to Jesus. 


When it comes to spiritual warfare, fight the battle on these three foundations:

Be conscious of the presence of evil forces. 

Be cautious of the danger of your sin.

Be comforted by the promise of Jesus’ victory.

I hope this series on spiritual things has been informative and helpful for you. More than anything else, I hope it causes you to turn your heart to Jesus. The most important spiritual decision you will ever make is what you do with Jesus. 

(Gospel presentation) 

(closing prayer) 

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