Wednesday, August 21, 2019
   
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

On Being Hunted by a Lion, Part 3

The Believers' Enemy. A Study on Overcoming the Evil One. Explore the four things each believer needs to understand if he is going to fight effective battles.

 

 

If we were to study the book of Ephesians, we would discover that the "worthy life" (Eph. 4:1) of the believer involves both doctrine (Chapters 1-3) and duty (Chapters 4-6). In other words, Ephesians makes it clear that what we do is to be in direct relationship to who we are. If we are going to be the kind of people God intends us to be, it will be not on the basis of self-effort but on the basis of our hope, riches and power—our identity and resources in Christ.

 

As we are obedient to these matters of doctrine and practice, however, we will discover great opposition coming against us. This is called spiritual warfare. The Christian is in a war; and as a Body, we are in a battle. This places even the practical aspects of our lives in an arena of greater significance, because it is possible to be fighting against strong spiritual forces every moment of the day.

 

As Christians, we are not only servants, but are called to be soldiers of the cross—2 Tim. 2:3; 4:7; 2 Cor. 10:3-4; Phil. 2:15.

2 Tim. 2:3-4—"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3] Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

2 Cor. 10:3-4—"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4] The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."

Phil. 2:25—"But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs."

 

We are all on the front lines in hand-to-hand combat.

For example, the attention Paul gives to this subject in the book of Ephesians probably refers back to his spiritual warfare in the city of Ephesus.

 

In the city of Ephesus, a great many opposed the church—1 Cor. 16:8-9. "But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me." Effective ministry is a good reason to stay, but the next sentence always follows—v. 9b.

A more complete description of the opposition to the church is found in Acts 19:9-42. Here we have the history of the beginning of the church at Ephesus.

Whenever the kingdom of God enters a new area, there is always a power confrontation. The believer’s enemy is not the world or unbelievers; our spiritual adversary is Satan.

Ephesians 6 shows us the real spiritual enemy and how we can defeat him. The specific purpose of this study of Ephesians 6 is to show us four things we need to understand if we are to fight effective battles with our enemy.

  1. The preparation needed
  2. The armor needed
  3. How the enemy works.
  4. The victory and how it comes.

The Believer Needs to Understand Four Things If He Is Going to Fight Effective Battles.

Eph. 6:10—"Finally..." [I’ve given you all the doctrine and the duty, but there is one more thing you need to hear—"...be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."]

 

This verse tells us the first thing we need if we are to fight effectively in spiritual warfare.

Understand the preparation that is needed to prepare ourselves for battle

Eph. 6:10—"Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."

 

We know the battle belongs to the strong; therefore, Paul begins with the strong. The Lord uses "in" twice here. Let’s look at each of these incidences.

 

"In the Lord ...."

We find the strength that we need in the Lord. John 15:5—"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

 

We don’t need to beg for it; we need to accept/claim what we have and use it. Phil. 4:13—"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (These are present continuous active verbs); 2 Cor. 12:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:12. Some people beg God for strength, for example, as if strength was apart from them. On the contrary, strength is a possession we have in Christ.

We must never forget, the Lord gained the victory on the cross, and He dealt a crushing blow to Satan at that time. We don’t need to plead for victory; as believers, we can walk by faith in the victory and strength that are already ours.

"In His mighty power ..."

We are to emphasize His mighty power. "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,. . .20] Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. . ." (Eph. 3:16,20)

2 Tim. 2:1 says, "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Again, we are not called to flex our physical muscles and make ourselves into human fighting machines. The words are in the passive, and mean we are to receive the strength of another and let it flow out of our lives. We are to fight, therefore, in His mighty power.

In human battles, strength is evaluated in terms of mere power (i.e., "How many men do you have; what’s the strength of our armor?" etc.). About spiritual warfare Paul says, in essence, "A Christian enters in with no strength of his own, no weapons of his own, no wisdom; but only in that strength given him/her by the Lord." Eph. 1:18-19; Col. 1:10-13; Acts 1:8.

Eph. 1:18—"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know . . . . 19] . . .his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength. . ."

I get tired of hearing myself and others say, "I can’t do it." This is giving testimony to the strength of the flesh—human effort. We can say, "We can’t do it," but that’s not the final outcome. The result should be that we stand strong in the strength of another. I pray that we would all finally understand Eph. 1:18-19.

Col. 1:10-13—"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord . . .11] being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12] giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13] For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves..."

We have God's strength and God's power. God’s best soldiers are those who know their weakness and do not rely on their own strength, but wholly on His. Essentially, David said when facing Goliath, "Sure he’s big, but look how much smaller he is than God."

Understand the armor if we are going to be effective in the war

Eph. 6:11—"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes."

 

The background of this letter is helpful so we can know why Paul used this imagery and description. Paul was a Roman prisoner as he was writing Ephesians, and it is likely that the soldier guarding Paul was chained to him in some fashion. This presented Paul a ready object lesson, as did the lilies with Jesus. When Paul described the armor of the Lord, he may have even discussed it with the soldier. I can see Paul turning to this soldier and saying, "I can see your armor, but do you know I have spiritual armor on, too?"

Paul also had Old Testament passages to draw upon—Isaiah 11:5; 49:2; 59:17. The implications of "put on..." should be noted, too. The phrase "put on," is very familiar to the book of Ephesians. We see it in Eph. 4:22ff, where it means to put on once and for all, in a final sense, but only after we have put off the old man.

We will have a difficult time in spiritual warfare if we haven’t taken off the old man and fully put on the new. If we have allowed ourselves a few articles of clothing—the best of the world—while only taking off the grungy ones, we’ll have an impossible time putting on our spiritual armor. Therefore "put on" implies we "put off" the old and put fully on the new, including the armor of God. It is essential we put on the whole armor, because we are not involved in a temporary struggle; we will never retire. The war potentially goes on 24 hours a day throughout our lives.

 

The importance of the "whole armor of God..." is obvious for another reason. We can’t face the battle with anything missing, or we will be attacked by Satan where we are lacking. I would think we would all wise up. So often we end up failing at the same place, time, circumstance over and over again. Maybe we should ask ourselves, "Am I missing a piece of my armor?" Are we masochists? Do we love to hurt? Do we love people coming to our rescue? Remember, our opponent will concentrate on our area of weakness, e.g., a boxer with a bleeding nose.

 

 

The individual pieces of armor. v. 14—

The belt of truth buckled around your waist.

This implies truth as content because of the counterfeit truth that comes against us—John 8:44; Eph. 4:14; Ps. 51:6. This belt of truth also shows the need for an attitude of readiness, commitment, alertness and firmness—e.g., loose clothes wrapped up by a belt.

The breastplate of righteousness in place.

This means we are to put on Christ’s righteousness—Phil. 3:7-9; 2 Cor. 5:21—and practical righteousness—Phil. 2:12-13. This righteousness is a defense against Satan’s accusations, and it makes our testimony credible/effective.

 

The feet fitted with the gospel of peace. v. 15— ". . .and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." This means our feet are ready to bring the gospel of peace to others—Rom. 10:12. Because of our inner peace, we are now prepared to do battle and move quickly, with zeal and courage, to bring peace to others.

The shield of faith. v. 16—"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."—i.e., temptations, anguish, persecutions, etc. Faith means we choose to believe God rather than Satan—Matt. 4:1-11; 1 John 5:4-5,10; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:6.

 

The helmet of salvation. v. 17—"Take the helmet of salvation. . ." Salvation has a past, present, and future application to our lives.

  • Past: we were justified—Gal. 2:20; Rom. 8:1.
  • Present: we are sanctified—Rom. 6:8-12.
  • Future: we are and will be glorified—Rom. 8:30.

This helmet also implies the hope of our salvation. "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet"—1 Thess. 5:8.

 

The sword of the Spirit. v. 17b—". . .and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

The Word of God is our offensive weapon—John 17:17; Prov. 8:34; Luke 11:28; 1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 4:12-13; Ps. 119:105; Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Pet. 1:22; John 15:1,3.

The prayer of the Spirit. v. 18—"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." This implies all kinds of prayers—Luke 21:36; Acts 6:4; 10:1-2; Rom. 12:12; Col. 1:2; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:12; Heb. 13:15; 2 Tim. 1:3; Acts 12:5,12; Luke 11:5-12; 18:1-8; 1 Pet. 4:7. While this is not a piece of the armor, it reminds us that while we have all we need in Christ, we still need to pray. Prayer is necessary for putting on the armor and keeping it on.

 

The interesting thing as we view the armor, is that there is no armor/protection for the backside. Believers are never to be in retreat. We are to be in face-to-face combat with our enemy. If we retreat, we are vulnerable.

 

Now that we know about the preparation we need and the armor available to us, let’s look at our battle strategy and how Satan works.

Understand how Satan fights

v. 11—"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes."

The word "schemes" comes from a basic word which means "to stalk" as an animal would, to pursue with a view to devour. What/who does this sound like? A lion. The devil works in exactly the same way, so we should not be ignorant of His schemes—2 Cor. 2:11. He works deceitfully and cunningly. He doesn’t initially come to us blatantly or with trumpets, but is subtle in his schemes. He stalks us and waits until we are vulnerable. Therefore, since we don’t know when he will attack, the clear implication is "Be ready always."

The description of the devil’s schemes can be summed up in one word: lies—of all types (Eph. 4:14; 6:11). This is the main way Satan attacks the Christian.

The word "scheme" is used in Eph. 4:14, and a comparison of the two passages gives us a good idea of what scheme means. Eph. 4:14—"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming."

One of the principles of interpretation is to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture; therefore, one of the ways to find the interpretation of a word is to see its use in another place in Scripture. In Ephesians 4:14 the context reveals that "deceitful scheming" is every wind of teaching, false doctrine, half truths, heresy, and lies. That’s a good picture of the way Satan will scheme against us. The summary of his deceitful scheming is as follows:

Satan’s attack comes to us in the form of lies.

Satan is opposed to the truth, so his attacks come in some form of falsehood.

Ghost writing demons are used. 1 Tim. 4:1—"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." Behind every heresy, every untruth is a deceiving spirit. Certainly these demons won’t identify themselves, but they will be the ghost writers who use humans as a front to lead people astray.

 

Masquerades/deceitful appearances are utilized. 2 Cor. 11:13-14—"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14] And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light"; Matt. 7:15—"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." Satan’s servants/emissaries will masquerade as servants of righteousness. They will have a form of godliness, but deny God’s power. Just like Satan, they come as angels of light.

Counterfeit teachings taught by humans and even angels are used. Gal. 1:8—"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" If Satan can get us to believe certain teachings of Scripture are not important, then he can get us to violate them. In the last days, people will abandon the true gospel for a different kind of gospel, one that is more appealing to their selfish nature.

 

Lying continually and the distortion of the truth is a common method. John 8:39-47, esp. v. 44—"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies"; Acts 20:28-30. Satan has confused the minds of many people, and they do not know they are following their father Satan’s lies and distortions. They don’t know that every time he speaks to them, it is a lie or a distortion of the truth.

Misquoting Scripture, quoting Scripture out of context and mixing error with just enough truth to make it appear plausible are other schemes. Matt. 4:6—"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’"; Gen. 3:4-5. Satan will do whatever he can to lead us astray, even to the point of quoting the Word of God to us. In the great temptation in Matthew 4, Satan’s first temptation was refuted by the Word. So what did Satan do? He came back and quoted the Word of God to Jesus. The problem is, it was misquoted and out of context.

 

Mimicry and a false entry into holy places are tricks Satan uses. 2 Thess. 2:3-4,9-12—"Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4] He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 9] The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10] and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11] For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12] and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness";

Matt. 24:15—"So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand." These verses are shocking because they show the length Satan will go to deceive us. He will even mimic God to deceive us, or put on robes, walk into the pulpit of a local church and preach a half-truth message. We need to know the truth, because in some cases, his deception will be so good it will be almost impossible to detect from the outward appearance. Satan will use any means possible, for he and his emissaries gain access to positions and places reserved for God and His people.

Immature Christians are a favorite target of his schemes.

Eph. 4:14—"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming";

I John 2:12—"I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name... 14] I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one."

Remember, if we don’t grow in the Lord from spiritual infancy unto young adulthood, we won’t overcome the evil one. That means we will be reliant/dependent upon someone else to know the Word, to overcome the evil one, and be strong for us—we will be tossed around by the waves of deceitful scheming and teaching.

 

Promising people that good can be obtained from wrongdoing. Luke 4:6-7—And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7] So if you worship me, it will all be yours." We need not only to have godly desires, but to make sure we have righteous means to accomplish these desires and goals.

Even false and deceitful miracles will be performed by false christs and prophets. Matt. 24:24—"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible"; 7:22-23—"Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23] Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"

 

These miracles are and will be designed to deceive even Christians. Don’t be overly impressed with the supernatural; but be a fruit inspector, too (see Matt. 7:15-20).

With these schemes in mind, let’s turn back to Ephesians 6 and take a closer look at Satan’s army.

The description of Satan’s army.

Eph. 6:12—"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." The struggle (wrestling) is an intense and strenuous personal conflict—a spiritual wrestling match. The struggle is not with a human enemy, nor do we fight with weapons of this world.

 

What are we not fighting? Flesh and blood

 

What are we fighting against? "...but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against spiritual forces in heavenly realms..." We are fighting what we cannot see or touch. We are fighting in heavenly realms

 

What are we fighting with, and what will be the result? 2 Cor. 10:3-5—"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4] The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5] We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

 

With the potential of our warfare in mind, let’s take a closer look at who we are fighting. The struggle involves the devil himself and all the demons under his control.

 

There are two types of demons/angels:

  1. loosed, fallen angels called demons. Matthew 8:28-34 is a good picture of what demonic power desires to do, the destruction it causes, and how Satan can be defeated.
  2. bound, fallen angels called demons. 2 Pet. 2:4—"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment. . . " Jude 6—"And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day."

 

The loosed demons know what we are doing, and they know our need—Acts 19:13-16. God was doing extraordinary miracles through Paul in this passage. Illnesses were being cured, and evil spirits were being cast out. Then some Jews came along and apparently wanted to get a piece of the action. They might have been Jewish exorcists or wanna-be’s. They tried to invoke the name of Jesus over those possessed.

It’s interesting, the demons didn’t know the sons of Sceva, but they did know Paul and what he was doing.

 

Acts 19:13—"Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ 14] Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15] One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ 16] Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding."

Beyond this being a humorous scene, it offers some insight as to how demons respond to spiritual people. If we are active in serving Jesus, we are causing all kinds of problems for demonic power. The demons know who we are, and they know our name. This excites me. I hope we at Hillcrest are giving Satan ulcers, frustrating him and his cohorts out of their minds. I hope that every day we cause them a hassle. I’m glad if they know our names, because it means we’re doing something for God that counts for eternity.

 

Having said that, it is important we understand who is on our side and who we are against:

The struggle is against a well-organized army of demons. v. 12—"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." Satan has counterfeited God’s order, and to understand Satan’s system of evil, we need to understand God’s army first.

The army of God is a well-organized force. Archangels are probably the highest angels, e.g., Gabriel—Luke 1:19. There are warrior archangels—and quite possibly the commander of all the armies of heaven is Michael (Jude 1:9; Dan. 10:13). There are also those who are below the ones who carry out the commands of God—Dan. 10:10-20.

 

With the picture of God’s army in mind, notice the Satanic army is a well-organized counterfeit force—v. 12; Col. 1:13. There are rulers, and they rule the world’s evil system, e.g., crime, false religion, liberalism, heresies of all types. There are authorities, and there are powers of the dark world—Col. 1:13. Satan’s army is summarized as being "the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places"—v. 12b.

This probably refers to the region above the earth, but it is below the heavens of the redeemed. In other words, "heavenly places" indicates the kingdom of the air—Eph. 2:2-3. It is, however:

  • Below the place where our blessings come from—Eph. 1:3
  • Below the place where Christ sits enthroned—Eph. 1:20
  • Below the place where good angels abide—Eph. 3:10
  • Below the heavens of the redeemed—Eph. 2:6-7

 

That leads to the last thing we need to know if we are going to be effective in spiritual warfare.

Understand the victory and how it comes

Eph. 6:13—"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

 

The victory was decided by the defeat of every evil satanic force at the cross. They are already sentenced and are just waiting for the final incarceration.

 

Have you ever watched a rerun or a sporting event that you originally saw live? If you’re like me, when it’s live I’m really into it, screaming and yelling, but when I watch a rerun, I’m a little more subdued, more calm. The reason is, I know how it’s going to end.

 

This is how it is in spiritual warfare. We already know who’s going to win. Jesus has triumphed over the powers and authorities at the cross.

Col. 2:14-15—"...having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15] And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." When Jesus was on the cross, Satan and his army threw everything at Him. What they thought was a victory, however, was a defeat. Jesus triumphed, making a public display of them.

 

The power of Christ has made us more than conquerors; therefore, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rom. 8:37-39—"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38] For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39] neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The victory comes in the following ways:

  1. Through standing strong in the strength of another—v. 10.
  2. Through putting on the full armor of God—vv. 10,13-17.
  3. Through prayers in the spirit —v. 18.
  4. Through defending ourselves and attacking our enemy.

The picture found in Ephesians 6 is not of a Christian waiting in the shelter of a fortress. The context makes it clear that in the Lord’s strength and armor, we are soldiers, not only ready for attack but rushing into the fight. The best defense is an offense. The devil has something that Jesus wants: the souls of men and women—1 John 5:19—therefore, we seek to rescue souls from the darkness and bring them into the kingdom of light.

 

The attitude we should have, then, as the Lord’s soldiers is expressed in the following passages—Rom. 1:13; 10:1; 1 Cor. 9:22; 10:33; 2 Cor. 11:2-4. The victory will be ours in the evil day.

 

Conclusion

 

When I read Ephesians 6, I’m glad to know I'm on the winning side. As we move toward the final culmination of this world, there will be increasing amounts of battles and skirmishes as Satan tries to convince us that he hasn’t already lost. But we know better.

If you do not know Jesus, you're on the side that will lose. When it comes to the final day, your name will not be written in the Book of Life. So the challenge to you is to lay down your old clothes—and put on the armor of Christ. Let me read to you what being on the winning side and the losing side will involve at the end of the age—Revelation 19:11-20:7.

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.

15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great." 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.

20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time

4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. 7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison. . .

 

One statement from this lesson is, "We don’t need to plead for victory; as believers, we can walk by faith in the victory and strength that are already ours." Do you realize this truth, and if so, do you live it?

God's best soldiers rely on His strength alone, and know their own weaknesses. What are your known weaknesses, and how do you trust God will display His strength in you?

Which of the pieces of spiritual armor do you need to put on at this point in your walk with God? Which places in your spiritual life are most vulnerable?

Lying is Satan's most often-used and powerful means of attack. How can we be better prepared to fend off his lying and see him for who he is?

If the best defense is an offense, how would you prepare your personal offense against the enemy of your soul, who seeks to make your life as a Christian miserable or—at least—uneffective?