Winning the Spiritual War Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on Winning the Spiritual War Part 1. He will be reading out of 2nd Corintians 10:1-6.

There are times that you and I have to be courageous, that we have to be willing to step up for what is godly, what is truthful. We must remember that God is calling us to be bold. He is calling us to be fearless.

Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders. Today we’re going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and we’re going to be talking about winning the spiritual war. Everything that you see happening out there right now is really a spiritual war.

It’s easy to see everything in the context of the flesh, but God told us that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood. So we understand what’s going on and the question is how can we win this spiritual war?

So I want you to grab your Bible and let’s learn winning the spiritual war in 2 Corinthians chapter 10. If you have your Bible this morning I want you to go to 2 Corinthians chapter 10 and this morning I want to talk to you about winning the spiritual war.

Now if we want to be full of God’s grace we cannot be full of ourself. Grace is not to be used as an excuse for us to sin, instead it is to be used as a divine weapon to tear down the strongholds and to set us free from the things of this world that desire to destroy us.

We are fighting a spiritual battle. It is a battle that is constant and we are called to exercise God’s grace in our own hearts and our own lives so that we can be more than conquerors. In the Bible the Apostle Paul frequently likens the Christian life to a personal battle.

We see in Romans 13 -12 that the Bible says the night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. Many Christians are trying to win the battle against Satan by what they do in the flesh.

And constantly they are losing that battle, failing because the flesh is weak, Jesus said. The Bible teaches us that we’re to put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

We are in a real war against evil and good. We are in a war that is a constant and consistent battle that we face. The Bible warns us about this spiritual battle. and that the danger that is upon us, the Scripture reminds us in 2 Corinthians 6 and verse 7, the apostle speaking to the Corinthians explaining how he was doing ministry in this spiritual warfare, and he said it is by the word of truth, by the power of God, and by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and the left.

So when we come to our text this morning, the apostle picks up this theme that he is already introduced in chapter 6 of a spiritual warfare, and he lays out for us four principles on winning the spiritual war.

I want to submit unto you, first of all he teaches us if we’re going to win the war, we have to be compassionate. Now let’s come to our text this morning in chapter 10 of 2 Corinthians verse 1. The apostle says, Now I, Paul, myself, am pleading with you by the meekness and the gentleness of Christ, who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent and bold towards you.

Now when the apostle makes that statement at the end of that verse about being present lowly and absent bold, he’s actually speaking it in a sarcastic way to his critics that are within the church. You remember that as we started this study in this book, 2 Corinthians, that we reminded you that the apostle was dealing with individuals who had infiltrated the church, false teachers, who were trying to discredit the ministry of the apostle, and they were trying to mislead the congregation to somehow believe that the message and the ministry of the apostle was not real.

And so as he writes to them he again tongue -in -cheek is addressing one of their criticisms of him and that is that when he’s around them he acts all humble but when he is not around us he’s all bold and he acts like a big shot.

The Apostle is saying to them this is how I exercise my ministry. How is it? Go back to verse 1. He says by the meekness and the gentleness of Christ. The key to winning the spiritual warfare is to be compassionate.

I know that sounds like a contradiction when we use terms like battle and war but this is exactly what God has called us to do. Why? Because we are really dealing with people. We are dealing with people who have fragile hearts and so he calls us to be compassionate and how do we do that?

The meekness of Christ. The gentleness of Christ. Let’s talk about meekness for a second. Jesus said in Matthew 11, verse 29, take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls.

When Jesus uses the word meek, it is the idea of power under control, or strength under control. It is a word picture in the Greek language that has the picture of a untamed horse becoming tamed. And so it is that God is calling us to exercise power, strength, but under the control of the Spirit of God, under the control of the wisdom of God.

Jesus taught us in Matthew five, blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Do not interpret meekness as weakness. We know in the scriptures that Moses was a mighty man of God, and that he was courageous in his efforts and exploits for God.

The Bible describes him as one of the meekest men on the earth. It did not mean that he was a pushover, that everybody just walked all over his life, but rather he was a man who exercised strength under the control of God.

When our power and strength is reckless, it can do a lot of damage to many people. We think about our nation and how blessed we are with a great military and its great might. And that great strength can be used for good, or it can be used for evil.

The strength we have as individuals, the power that is within us through Christ can be used for good, or it can be used for evil. And perhaps maybe, better way to understand it is that remember the scriptures teach us that in the tongue there is life and death.

Our tongue can either bring life to people or it can sap out life in their heart. And so within each of us we have this capacity. We have this capacity to be meek individuals who exercise the strength of Jesus Christ under the control of God.

The second thing he’ll note is that we are to minister compassionately through the gentleness of Christ. Gentleness is an expression of compassion. The word carries the idea of being equitable or even being moderate and considerate.

So again we understand that God is calling us in this battle that is spiritual, that is in engaging and dealing with individuals on a regular basis, that we not only show meekness, but that we show gentleness.

Gentleness is simply an example of how Christ ministered to individuals. The Bible teaches us that we can see the humility of Christ in His incarnation. We see the humility of Christ as He gave His life for each and every one of us so that we could have eternal life with Him forever.

Gentleness is essential as we engage others because people grow slowly and not everybody’s gonna be like you and not everybody’s gonna be on the same track that you’re on and maybe they aren’t where you’re at in your spiritual journey of faith.

It is essential that we recognize that as we are working with individuals, training our children, equipping those that we are mentoring and serving and have friendships with, that we are loving and gentle with them, that we are careful.

There are times that we have to be firm, that is the meekness. There is times that we have to be flexible, that is the gentleness. You say, Mike, how do I know when to be firm and when to be flexible?

I believe the Spirit of God will lead you. I can’t get up here and tell you what to do in every scenario, but I believe that as you are in the Word of God, as you are spending time in prayer, as you are desiring to walk in the Spirit and follow the will of God in your life, that He will give you that great wisdom of when you should be firm or flexible, when you should show up.

So meekness or gentleness, what is really important for us as believers, that as we’re out there in the workforce, as we’re out in our community, that we make sure that people see the gentleness of Jesus Christ in our life.

For if they do not see the gentleness of Christ in us, then they will not see the gospel of Christ that we speak. Ours is a good news. We do not bring bad news to our friends and to our family. We bring the greatest news, the news of a Savior who came from heaven, a Messiah that was promised in the Old Testament, a Savior that would come and deliver His people from their sins, that He would go to the cross and die for us, and that for all who believe in Him.

can have their sins washed away, and that they can have the eternal hope in Christ, and that one day as we sang earlier, we will be with Christ forever and ever and ever. This is what we desire. And friends, when we show gentleness as we are communicating through our actions, our attitudes, as we are communicating through our words, when we show gentleness to others, even when they’re difficult, it always will elicit a response of trust and respect.

You cannot be reckless in your words. You cannot be hateful in trying to reach others. You cannot see everybody as your enemy. You must understand that they are your mission field. Every day we must come to life with the understanding that we are on mission, that God has a purpose, He has a plan, that He is putting people in our path for a reason, and He is calling on us to engage them in conversations where we are planting seeds of gentleness and kindness and meekness, and we are sharing the good news of Christ with them.

And whether we’re planting or watering, we are letting God give the increase. And as God works effectively in hearts, we will win the spiritual battle. The second thing that we must understand to win the spiritual battle is not only to be compassionate, but to be courageous.

So we come to verse two, and He says, as I beg you, that when I am present, I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some who think of us as if we walked a quarter.

to the flesh. Who is Paul referring to? This same group that I already mentioned to you. This group of false teachers. This group of critics who desire the demise of the Apostle. And he is reminding us that this also is part of our battle.

That there are going to be the naysayers out there. There are going to be the negative people out there. And there are times that you and I have to be courageous. That we have to speak up. That we have to stand up.

That we have to be willing to step up for what is right. What is honorable. What is godly. What is truthful. There are times in our life that we must remember that God is calling us to be bold. He is calling us to be fearless.

The Apostle is simply communicating here. that he is more than capable to be bold and fearless, and that he is not afraid to confront. You remember in the New Testament that the Apostle Peter, even himself, being a man like you and I, that he found himself off track, off mission.

You remember in the book of Galatians where he was showing favoritism to those Jews that were believing in Christ, but yet looking down upon the Gentiles who believed in Christ? Do you remember that the Apostle confronted Peter, that he addressed that problem with him, and that it was something that required him to be courageous?

And so it is that the Apostle is begging. He is begging the congregation. He is begging those false teachers, those critics, that they would not put him in a position because he is more than ready if so.

If it is necessary for him to be bold, he is ready. He is willing. He is willing to display the boldness of confronting them and to warn if necessary. Now, what if our armed forces went into each battle afraid, undedicated, undedicated to the country, undedicated to the task?

There is no doubt that we would lose the war. Our military is taught complete commitment and courage. And if they were not, they could never succeed. In the same way, every Christian must learn that they must be courageous.

They must be committed. Remember, we are here for a reason. God has raised you up. He has placed you where you’re at for a purpose. And there are moments in time. times that God is saying this is your moment to step up and speak up.

It’s important that we are courageous and that we are ready to face the moment that is before us. There is no doubt church that our nation is in a spiritual warfare and I really have no other explanation for all that is happening except that we are in a spiritual battle.

It is unbelievable that we live in a culture that depicts evil as good, that it depicts wrong as right, that has confusion about people’s gender identity, that presents truth as wrong and intolerance as tolerant, hate as love.

We live in a culture that glorifies death. and abortions. It goes deeper, church, than just what we see. It is a spiritual warfare, and the Bible tells us that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities.

There is no doubt that the demonic forces are at work trying to bring down our culture, trying to bring down our values, trying to attack what is most meaningful and important to us. And we must be courageous as the people of God.

And we do not believe that the answer is found in the White House or the Congress, but the answer is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. And let’s not be afraid to share that message to the people that God puts in our circle of influence.

The third thing I want you to learn this morning about winning the spiritual battle is not only that we should be compassionate and courageous, but we should be competent. We should be competent. Look at verse three, 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.

There is an intense battle for our mind. The devil understands this. He understands how this works. That’s why he uses all these different platforms to capture the minds of individuals. We are in a battle for the mind, and it’s raging 24 hours a day.

Every battle starts in the mind. The Bible says, as a man thinks, so is he. My actions are rooted in my attitude, and my conduct is connected to my core beliefs. And so, as I think about my life, I want to always make sure that I’m thinking on the right thing.

The Bible says, think on these things, things that are just, honest and honorable, things that are praiseworthy. If you focus your heart and your mind constantly on the negative, on the what if, on the critical, it is no wonder that you become a negative person.

It’s no wonder that you see everything from such a negative and critical. perspective. God is calling us to make sure that we feed our mind with his truth and the things that are right and honorable.

It’s important for every mom and dad to recognize in raising their children that we cannot isolate our children from all the evil, all the wrongs, all the difficulties of this world. But what we can do is insulate them by feeding their mind, by making sure that their minds are receiving what is truthful, praiseworthy, and honorable, and just before God.

The key in helping your children to grow up in a way that is healthy and honorable to God is to feed their minds. As a man thinks, so is he, the devil’s in fifth gear trying to capture the minds of our young people.

And so we must stay at it in this battle and being competent and strategic in how we do that, in feeding their minds. The weapons of the Christian soldier are not worldly weapons. Our battle is spiritual.

Therefore, we must fight with spiritual weapons. We depend upon divine resources rather than human methods. So the apostle gives us three particular areas that we have to address with the divine weapons of God.

You’ll notice first he uses the word stronghold. This is a metaphor describing ancient cities, describing the fortresses that they would build. around their cities so that they could take refuge. This is a reminder to all of us that there are strongholds that are spiritual and that these strongholds capture the mind and that they must be demolished by the spiritual weapons wielded by godly believers.

Only the spiritual weapons will work. If we are to defeat the satanic falsehoods that infiltrate our minds, it must be done through the spiritual weapons. The second area that he talks about is imaginations.

Again, look at the text here in verse 5. He tells us we’re casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against… the knowledge of God. What is he teaching us? He’s talking about the arguments, the imaginations, if you will, which has to do with the philosophies of the world, the false religions of the world, the humanism that is in the world, the secularism.

We are seeing time and time again that people are embracing a secular viewpoint. The problem is that secularism leads us to depend upon mankind, to depend upon ourselves. And the truth is, left to ourselves, we will destroy ourselves.

The only way the heart can have true purpose in life is to understand that there is something bigger in this world. There is something better in this world than what the world can produce. And that person is God Almighty.

It is Jesus Christ. We are to be equipped and understand that through the power of His truth, we can overcome the arguments of the world. Through the power of His truth, we can cast down every false philosophy that captures the mind.

And we do this by making sure that our own hearts and our own minds are aligning in obedience to Christ. That as we learn the truth, God helps us to discern the falsehoods. Many years ago as a young preacher, I heard another pastor speaking and he shared with his time of working in the bank and how they could discern between a real dollar bill and a fake dollar bill.

They didn’t spend all their time teaching their workers what a false dollar bill feels like. but focusing on what a real dollar bill feels like, what it looks like, what are the distinctions about it.

And that was to give them the skill sets to be able to distinguish what is right and what is wrong. Too many times we spend all our time telling everybody what we’re against and what we need to really focus on is telling everybody what we’re for.

And as we focus on what is right, what is honorable, it’s not that we stick our head in the sands to the things that are bad and evil, but we help them to see what is right and honorable. And in so doing that is that as they learn the truth, there is a promise that we are given as we understand truth, that it sanctifies us.

The Bible tells us that Jesus prayed that his disciples would be sanctified by the truth. Jesus said, the truth will set you what? Free. It is the truth that sets us free from the philosophies and religions of the world.

It is the truth of the gospel, the truth of His Word, the truth of the Bible that helps us to be able to discern. This is what many Christians lack. Many followers of God lack is they lack that discernment.

They lack discernment in their life. They’re gullible, they’re naive, they’re easily drawn in and as a result misled. Now He not only talks about strongholds and arguments, but He talks about our thought.

So again, we look at verse 5 and He says to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Now Satan’s chief activity and goal in our life is to cause us to think differently from the Bible.

It is to cause us to think disobediently to the will of God. We see this in the book of Genesis. We see that as the serpent deceived Eve, that the serpent kept causing Eve to doubt. By using different strategies of questioning who God is and what He has actually said, Eve began to doubt, mixing a little truth with a little falsehood so that you can’t see the falsehood.

This is how the devil works. He begins to work on our thoughts, our mind. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul frequently likens the Christian life to a personal battle. And today we’ve been learning about…

winning that spiritual war and so I hope that the principles you’re learning will help you to be victorious in your walk for the Lord Jesus Christ. We live in some unique times but times that call us to be ready and to be armed relating to our spiritual life and to be able to be able to move forward for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now I want to encourage you to check out our YouTube channel and make sure that you go to YouTube and type in Hope Worth Having and subscribe to our channel and you will see a lot of information. There’s a lot of content and you can get this message in its entirety so take advantage of that.

There’s also some interviews and different training things that will be available to you and you might have some questions about different topics in the Bible. You can just put that in the query and it’ll come up in the YouTube channel and we’ll be able to help you out in helping you to grow spiritually.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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