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Introduction to Warfare

Introduction to Warfare


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Published by Mike Campagna
This is Study Guide 1 for the Heart Chat Spiritual Warfare online Bible study on Facebook
This is Study Guide 1 for the Heart Chat Spiritual Warfare online Bible study on Facebook

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Published by: Mike Campagna on Sep 22, 2012
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Spiritual Warfare
Heart Chat Bible Study
w/Pastor Mike

Introduction to Warfare

Spiritual Warfare Bible Study Instructions and Schedule
© A Heart For God Ministries

INSTRUCTIONS Chat takes place on Facebook for 1 hour every Sunday at 4 pm Pacific USA. Web address for chat -> http://www.tinyurl.com/HeartChat-Facebook If you are unable to attend at the chat time, feel free to check out and interact with the chat (via your comments and "likes") when it's convenient. I will check in throughout the week to make sure and respond to you. Study guide for each week will be posted on Facebook the Monday before chat. (For example, the guide for the Sept 30th chat will be posted on Monday, Sept 24.) Read through the study guide for the week and do the exercises to prepare for chat.

SCHEDULE (6 weeks) Sept 30 Introduction to Warfare Oct 7 Oct 14 Oct 21 Oct 28 Nov 4 The Weapons / Battlefield The Enemy The Full Armor of God War Stories Tips for the Trenches

David and Goliath picture in the public domain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Osmar_Schindler_David_und_Goliath.jpg {{PD-US}} – published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the US.

Spiritual Warfare eBook Study Guide – Lesson 1
© A Heart For God Ministries

It is vitally important to study the subject of spiritual warfare because of the tendency in our day for believers to be “streaking” and “sleeping.”

STREAKING IN THE SPIRIT "One day the evil spirit answered them, 'Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?' Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all." (1 Corinthians 19:15-16a) “Streaking” (running by others in the nude in a public place) was the thing to do in the 1970s. My dad had my brother and sister and I in a shopping center gift shop. All of a sudden, there was a commotion outside and ~ whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Right by the window there were five or six completely in their birthday suits human beings running by! All I can remember is some skin-tone blurs before my eyes. Spiritual “streakers” rouse the crowds, too. The enemy notices and focuses his attacks. He even influences believers to walk through life without their spiritual clothes on. I don’t want to be “streaking in the Spirit” when it comes to spiritual warfare. How ‘bout you?

SNOOZING IN THE SPIRIT "'The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and [all ten virgins] became drowsy and fell asleep.'" (Matthew 25:5) Jesus told many parables concerning the kingdom of God and the end times. One such parable was “The Parable of the Ten Virgins.” (Matthew 25:1-11) In the parable, both the wise and foolish virgins showed their tendency towards sleeping when they should have been watchful for the arrival of the bridegroom. And so the tendency exists today among followers of Christ especially when it comes to the subject of spiritual warfare. The thought occurred to me about how the wise virgins could have been awake trying to rouse the foolish virgins from sleep and yet they were themselves dozing. So it is in our day. When we might be battling for the lives of those who are perishing using the weapons of prayer, the Word of God, etc., we are more apt to be slumbering ourselves.

I don’t want to be “snoozing in the Spirit” when it comes to spiritual warfare. How ‘bout you?

BRAINSTORM ON YOUR OWN When you hear the word “war” what do you think of? Come up with a list. Press yourself. (I came up with 44 different things.) Write it down.

WHAT SPIRITUAL WARFARE IS AND ISN’T Okay. Time for a quiz. Which of these following situations and/or circumstances do you think would involve some type of spiritual warfare? Answer “yes” or “no.” Be ready to give your reasons why. 1. Flat tire on the freeway. 2. Bad day at the office. 3. Baby that didn’t sleep last night. 4. A believer with a smoking habit. 5. A grandparent with cancer. 6. A government official who is pro-choice. 7. An angry church member. 8. A bad sermon on Sunday morning. 9. Hard time with devotions. 10. A wart on your toe. 11. A son (who can’t swim) slipping into a lake. 12. The 2012 United States Presidential campaign and election. The truth is some of these could fall into the category of spiritual warfare and are easy to discern (depending on the information given) and some of them are not so easy. We used to do street evangelism in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was the night that someone through a brick at us. We had no idea what happened as a bus drove by at just the right time (I’m getting chills as I’m typing this and remembering). The brick broke through a window in the bus as it passed by. It was on this very night that I prayed for a guy to be delivered from a demon. But I can remember to this day how unsure and uneasy I felt and the confidence I lacked. Was he really demon-possessed or demonoppressed or not? Who was I to think I could pray in such a way? It can be hard to tell what is spiritual warfare and what isn’t spiritual warfare. We may be unsure about a particular situation, but we can ask the Holy Spirit for insight and He will give it. What we do know for sure is that the Scripture says there is a war going on and that it does manifest itself at times in the circumstances and situations of life.

SPIRITUAL WARFARE DEFINED Let me try to define spiritual warfare in a few ways... Quote "Spiritual warfare is a multilevel conflict between good and evil initiated on the supernatural plane with the prehistoric rebellion of Lucifer, and transferred onto the natural plane with the fall of man. Satan, man's adversary, continues to work to deceive and divert people from salvation in Jesus Christ and to harass and hinder Christians through enticement to sin and exploitation of weaknesses." (The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare by White, pg 23) Supernatural Wrestling Match "For our struggle (wrestle; KJV) 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." (Ephesians 6:12; NAS) Spiritual warfare is like a wrestling match. It's you against an enemy opponent. I can remember becoming pretty good at wrestling in high school once I had learned the moves. But before that I was a pushover. There are two Hebrew words used for wrestling in the Bible: (1) twist, and (2) get dusty. Sounds like a new dance! (Twist and Shout by the Beatles; The Twist by Chubby Checker) In the Greek it's just plain wrestling. Spiritual warfare is to twist and get dusty with the powers of darkness. Wrestle: "Heb. pathal, root meaning 'twist' (Gen. 30:8); of Rachel's wrestling (emotional and vocal rather than literal [hand to hand]) with Leah, which led Rachel to name her handmaid's son Naphtali, my wrestlings. Heb. avaq, get dusty, wrestle (Gen. 32:24, 25); of Jacob's wrestling with the angel (physical effect, the dislocation of Jacob's thigh). Greek pale, wrestling; later any kind of fighting; used of the Christian's spiritual conflict with the powers of evil (Eph 6:12)." (Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, pg 900)

THREE LEVELS OF CONFLICT There are three levels of conflict when it comes to spiritual battles. Level 1: God / Satan (Revelation 12; see also Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28) The first level of conflict is cosmic ("immeasurably extended in time and space; vast"). It

pits God and His angels against the devil and his angels. It's not clear what specifically takes place in this realm. The Bible is mostly silent on this point. Daniel 10 does talk about both heavenly and demonic angels as being "princes" over particular nations. In that chapter they (the angels) are revealed as fighting / warring against each other. In the New Testament Satan fought the archangel Michael (my mother named me after him, by the way) over Moses' body. (Jude 9) Level 2: Believer / Devil-Flesh-World The second level of conflict is seen at a more personal level. It was introduced to the planet during Adam and Eve's fall in the Garden of Eden. Devil "'And I [the Lord] will put enmity between you [the serpent, devil] and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He [Jesus] shall crush you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.'" (Genesis 3:15) This prophecy culminated on Calvary where Satan bruised Christ in the event of the Cross, while Christ crushed Satan triumphing over him by that same Cross, thereby disarming and humiliating him forevermore, (Colossians 2:15) This conflict has now spilled over to the saints. Satan, though his time is short, still seeks to trip up believers through enticement and temptation to sin. Flesh The "flesh" is the sinful nature inherent in all of us that is still subject, though its power was broken through the Cross, to the enticements and temptations thrown at us by Satan. World System The "world" is that part of this planet (specifically people) that is under the control of the evil one. Jesus called Satan, "the prince / ruler of this world." (John 12:31; 16:11) 1 John 5:19 says that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." "The focus of Satan's endeavors must be to invest his limited power where it will reap the greatest reward. His strategy, therefore, is to undermine values, promote godless ideologies and moral decay - anything that pollutes the minds and perverts the wills of the people. Thus, communications media, school curricula, political and religious bodies, educational institutions, powerful leaders, each can become potential avenues of Satan's influence that touch the life of a believer. This is the predominant form of spiritual warfare that we face." (The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare by White, pg 21-22) This is the world system.

Level 3: Satan / Unbeliever "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) At this level of conflict, Satan has caused as it were a "fog" to exist in the mind of unbelievers so that they can not see. They are literally held in spiritual darkness. In Acts 26:18 we read of Paul (who was at that time, Saul), while on the road to Damascus, having a vision of Christ in which Jesus Himself commissions him to go to the Gentiles with the Gospel message "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God." This third level of conflict in spiritual warfare is that of which White writes, "In the conflicts between men, races, and nations, the greatest battle is the invisible wrestling match for the souls of men and women. This battle is the cutting edge of spiritual warfare." (The Believer's Guide to Spiritual Warfare by White, pg 22) (I purposely put God before Satan, the believer before the world, etc., to communicate who has the upper hand on each level of conflict.)

TWO APPROACHES TO SPIRITUAL WARFARE Passive Approach Inactivity caused by either ignorance / lack of knowledge or by fear / intimidation ~ or via under emphasis because one is tired by overemphasis. (Think of an ostrich with its head in the sand.) Active Approach Activity in an extreme sense (overemphasis) that has a demon "under every rock" mentality. We need to be active, but not obsessed. "It is wrong to reject the existence of the powers of darkness, but it is equally wrong to believe in them in the wrong way." (The Satan Syndrome by Nigel Wright) “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight." (The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis)

A BALANCED APPROACH Picture a small log. Across the log (like a "T") is a 3-foot long, two by six, piece of wood. Now picture yourself with both feet spread apart standing on the 3-foot piece of wood trying to balance yourself on the log. How do you think you'd do? "The Christian life is the exciting process of trying to keep your balance." (Spiritual Warfare by Timothy Warner) And so it is true when it comes to spiritual warfare. God's Sovereignty A healthy understanding of God's sovereignty will bring a balance in one's approach to spiritual warfare. In Scott Moreau's study guide on spiritual warfare, he offers Psalm 91 as a starting place on which to build a foundation for spiritual warfare. This psalm, he says, reveals "the actual operation of God's sovereignty in the battles we face." (Moreau pg 11) Another author states, "This is a psalm for danger; for times of exposure and encirclement or of challenging the power of evil." (Psalms 73-150 by Derek Kidner; Moreau pg 69)

REFLECTION TIME "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!'" (Psalm 91:1-2) (To listen to Pastor Mike’s original chorus He Who Dwells, click here.) Psalm 91 is where we will begin as we start our times of reflection. We’re considering God's sovereignty over the spiritual battles we each face ~ some we face together and some we face alone. The exercise below is taken from the study guide I just referred to (Moreau pg 12-14). I would like you to take some time to work through these questions / statements. You may want to jot down your answers as I will be referring to one or more during the chat time. Exercise (a) Do you believe God is really sovereign over evil and over your life? Why or why not? (b) Four metaphors (word pictures) are used for God in verses 1-2. What do each of these metaphors tell you about God?

Shelter: God the Most High (who shields us from attack) Shadow: God the Almighty (the One who stands over us for safety) Refuge: God the Lord (we can go to Him for sanctuary) Fortress: God my God (he is not just God, but my God) (c) In verses 3 and 5-6, the psalmist describes various types of attacks. With these in mind, identify any type of spiritual attack you may have faced recently, and discuss how you handled it. (d) Making God our dwelling is the condition for the promises that follow (v. 9ff). How do we make God our dwelling? (e) Choose one or two promises in this psalm that you consider most significant, and explain why these give you confidence when facing spiritual battles and struggles.

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