Gregory Dickow - Spiritual Warfare
Welcome to the power to Change today and today we're going on a journey together, I want to take you to the southern steps in the holy City of Jerusalem from that amazing location. You can see the Mount of Olives and also the pinnacle of the temple where Jesus was tempted by the devil. It's where he first encountered the enemy and spiritual warfare. And there he gives us the greatest insight into how we can win in spiritual warfare as well, because where does the devil attack us in our minds and our thought life? His aim is to get us to doubt God's love for us and then influence and control what we're thinking. Spiritual warfare is really the battle for who's going to control the decision making process of our lives, and that's determined by our thoughts and our words. So today I'm going to show you how Jesus resisted the devil right where he did and how you can follow his example and walk in the power and authority over the devil that God created you to walk in. So get ready to go with me to the holy city where you're going to win.
We're standing here in the City of Jerusalem on the southern steps, right at the southern steps of the of the Temple Mount. These are the very steps that Jesus walked up to, to get into the mount, into the temple, and he walked down the steps to get out of the temple. It's an amazing, historic place. But the reason why I brought you here is because behind me you can see the Mount of Olives and also behind me you can see the pinnacle of the temple where the devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and one of the temptations in Matthew chapter 4 Luke, Chapter 4. And I want to talk a little bit about that, because today I want to teach you right from here, the southern steps of the Temple Mount. I want to teach you about spiritual warfare and stepping in to God's purpose for your life, spiritual warfare, and stepping in to God's purpose for your life.
Now, spiritual warfare. We sometimes think that we're fighting demons. Well, Jesus defeated the devil. Our calling is not to fight demons, but to cast them out. We have authority over them. And our calling is not to overcome the devil, but to resist the devil's attempts to control our lives. And the way that the devil wants to control our lives is through controlling the choices that we make through our thoughts. And that's why spiritual warfare is pulling down strongholds which are mindsets that are that that have a strong hold over you and casting down imaginations and taking into captivity every thought that into the obedience of Christ. And then it says that your obedience may be fulfilled. In other words, you can't obey on the outside until you take captives, take thoughts captive on the inside. As you make your thoughts, obey God, your life will obey God. Think great. You'll live great. Believe God's word, you'll live God's word. Think God's word, you'll live God's word.
Now, I want to take you, though, to the place where Jesus did experience these temptations so that you can understand how to deal with spiritual warfare. Now, the great warrior Sun Tzu wrote years ago in the Art of War, the great classic, The Art of War. He said, In order to win any battle, you've got to know yourself. You've got to know your enemy and you've got to know your weapons. Well, we have to know those three things as well. We have to know ourselves. We have to know who we are in Christ. We have to know our enemy. We have to know that Satan is like a like a prowling lion or like a lion prowling about seeking whom he may devour. And we have to know our weapons. And this is the greatest weapon that you've been given. It's the Word of God. It's the sword of the spirit. And we're going to live by that word and speak that word and experience the power of that word.
We need to realize, though, that people are so oppressed because they're Satan doesn't need to come down and defeat you. He uses thoughts to defeat you. We're defeating ourselves with the thoughts that we think. And that's why we need to take responsibility to pull down the strongholds, cast down the imaginations and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. While a thought becomes an imagination. If the thought is unchecked, it becomes an imagination and imagination, then unchecked becomes a stronghold. So if you want to pull down strong willed and truly win in spiritual warfare, it starts at the thought level. Your thoughts, produce your your thoughts, produce your actions, your actions, produce your habits, your habits, produce your character and your character shapes and produces your destiny.
So if you want to fulfill God's destiny in God's purpose, for your life, instead of trying to just dream a bigger dream, we have to realize that our destiny is the byproduct of our character. Our character is the byproduct of our habits. Our habits are the byproduct of our actions, and our actions are the byproduct of our thoughts. So if we deal at the thought level, then we will fulfill our destiny. You notice the devil didn't try to tempt Jesus, well, he tempted him in all things as we are tempted, and yet Jesus was without sin. Right. But the devil's temptations in Matthew Chapter four are clearly temptations of thoughts is thought. He uses thoughts to bring temptation to use his thoughts to pull us down. He used thoughts to pull down Jesus.
So let's talk about this, because this is where that happened. This is where Jesus was tempted. And one of the places that Jesus was tempted at the pinnacle of the temple, which you'll see behind me again. But in Matthew Chapter four, let's go through this. He says this, that Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil. Now, before we go any further, I want I want you to understand what will prepare you for any temptation. Now, I'm going to show you the weapons that you have for when the temptation comes. And by the way, once you pass these tests, you're going to step into your purpose, you're going to step into your destiny. But before we even go through the temptation, you can't handle temptation until you understand what God says about you and what he believes about you.
You know, when I said earlier, you got to know yourself and you got to know your enemy and you got to know your weapons. Will in Matthew, Chapter three, just before Jesus goes up to be tempted by the devil. Jesus is baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. And when he comes up out of the waters of baptism before he did any miracle, before he healed any sick people, before he fed the multitudes, before he preached a sermon, before he died for our sins, before he rose from the dead, before he did any of the mighty works that he did, it says in Matthew Chapter three and mark chapter one, verse 10 and 11, that when he came up out of the waters of baptism. He heard a voice from heaven and everyone around heard this voice from heaven, and the voice said to Jesus, you are my beloved son and in you I am well pleased.
Now, spiritual warfare. This is your most people will never you'll never hear this because most people don't understand. Spiritual warfare starts right here. It starts with believing the love that God has for you. The greatest form of spiritual warfare is the love of God. The greatest weapon we have against the enemy is God's love. And that's why Satan try so hard to get you to hate yourself and try so hard to get you convinced that God doesn't love you. He's mad at you. He's upset at you. But my saying for years has been this. God's not mad at you. He is mad about you. He's madly in love with you. And so Jesus hadn't performed a miracle. Jesus hadn't done a work. He hadn't preached a sermon. And he comes up out of the waters of baptism and he hears the voice of God and the voice of God says, I love you. You're my beloved son. You're you're you're my dearly loved son.
One translation says that that way. And the new living translation, you're my dearly loved son and you bring me great joy now that right there is what every person's after. They want to feel the love that the father has for them. They're looking for love. They're searching for love. And only the love of God can truly fill an empty heart and satisfy you in the deepest places of your soul. Only the love of God. You know, really, the love of God will heal you from addictions. It'll heal you from eating disorders. It'll heal you from hating yourself. It'll heal you from being depressed. It'll heal you from unhappiness. It'll heal you from discouragement. The love of God is that powerful. The love of God is that rich. The love of God is that deep. The love of God is that miraculous. It's the love of God.
And if Jesus, the Son of God, the King of kings in the Lord of lords, the perfect one who never sinned if he needed to hear this voice from heaven. You're my beloved son. You're my dearly loved son. And you, I'm well pleased. Or you bring me great joy. You see, if you knew today, if you knew the love that the father had for you, if you were convinced that the father loved you and you knew that you already brought him great joy, you would no longer be under the power of temptation. Temptation would not have control over you. Let me explain to you this way. When you know that you bring God great joy, because everybody's looking for affirmation, everybody's looking for acceptance. Everybody wants to feel like they're they're approved, they're seeking approval. But when you have that approval from God, you're no longer seeking it through sinful behavior and sinful behavior, simply a twisted way of trying to meet your need, a twisted way of trying to feel love, the twisted way of trying to feel approved. That's what sin is. That's why people sin.
So if you discover the love that the Father has for you and Jesus, coming up out of the waters of baptism reveals and reflects the love of God in such a powerful way. And the same love that the father has for Jesus in this verse is the same love that he has for you. And God wants you to understand that it's no different. The way he loves Jesus is the way that he loves you. And when you understand that approval, that affirmation, that acceptance, that sense of security, that sense of confidence, it will fling you right through the wilderness, resisting temptation everywhere you go, and it'll bring you into your purpose and into your God given destiny.
So I want you to see that in Matthew three. That's exactly what happens in verse sixteen and Seventeen. The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove. And a voice from heaven says, You're my beloved son, I love you, and God wants you to hear his voice right now through my voice. He wants you to hear his voice. He loves you. He wants you to hear I love you. You're my beloved. You're my dearly loved son or daughter. I love you. I adore you. I'm for you, not against you. And when you believe that everything's going to be all right. This gave him power. This gave him strength. This gave him confidence. And it's the same love that will give you confidence. And it's the same love that will give you power and it'll give you strength. Then you see, only then was Jesus let up in verse chapter four, verse one into the by the spirit into the wilderness, and was tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights.
What could have enabled him to be ready for that love What will make you ready for whatever you're going to face? The love of God. God's love never fails. And if we're talking about winning in spiritual warfare, then what better place or what better what better weapon to have at our disposal than a weapon that never fails? And in First Corinthians 13:8, it says love never fails. So when you are armed with the love of God, you are ready for spiritual warfare. And that's why Jesus was then ready to go into the wilderness and he was tempted by the devil in the first temptation was, if you're the Son of God, turn these stones into bread. If you're the Son of God, you see, remember what I said earlier, that you got to know yourself, you got to know your enemy and you've got to know your weapons. Well, Jesus knew himself. He knew he was the Son of God.
And so when Satan comes to try to tempt him, the temptation is questioning his identity. And that's what the devil is trying to do in our lives. That's what he's trying to do in your life, trying to question you. You're not really a child of God. Look at what you've done. Look at how you failed. You need to go now. I know I'm a child of God because as many as received him, the Bible says to them he gave the right to become children of God. You're not a child of God because you do everything right. You're a child of God because God made you his child. You were born again as a child of the living God, a son or a daughter of God. And so Satan was always trying to push you off of your identity because your identity is what produces your destiny. When you understand your identity, it is the DNA. The DNA of your identity will produce your destiny or your destiny. The DNA of your destiny is inside your identity.
Knowing that you are a son or daughter of God, you got to know yourself. We're know we're learning our weapons. The first weapon is love. We know we know ourselves. We're the sons and daughters of God and we know our enemy. He's a tempter. He's a liar. He's constantly trying to accuse you and tell you that you're not who God said you are. And that's why we need to focus and meditate on who God said we are. So what does Jesus do? So so the devil says, if you're really the Son of God, turn these songs into bread. And what does Jesus say it is written? It is written now here, here are the three most powerful words that you can say and that you can declare as weapons that you can use coming out of your mouth the same way they came out of Jesus mouth. They can come out of your mouth.
He didn't say, hey, I'm the Son of God, stop bothering me, devil. No. He used the weapon of the Word of God. He said it is written and he spoke the Word of God. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And then the devil comes again. And this is where he takes him to the pinnacle of the temple that we're standing at right now. And at the pinnacle of the temple. He sets him right on top and says, If you're the Son of God, throw yourself down for isn't it written he will command his angels concerning you and on their hands they'll bear you up. Bless you. Strike your foot against the stone. And Jesus said to him again, it is written again. It is written. So Jesus doesn't say, well, I guess I guess speaking God's word didn't work the first time.
So I'll try to figure something else out the second time. Now he says again, it is written because it's the consistency of speaking. God's word is the consistency of using the sword of the spirit to take thoughts captive and to resist the devil. Remember, we don't have to overcome the devil. Jesus already overcame him. Our job or responsibility is to resist the devil. And how do we resist him? The same way Jesus resisted him with the Word of God. It is written. He said you. He said, again, you shall not put again is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test, and then again the devil took him to a very high mountain and he shows them all the kings of the world in their glory. And he said, all these will I give you if you fall down and worship me? Then Jesus said to him, Be gone, Satan.
Now, folks, we can't just say Be gone to Satan and he's going to he's going to listen. Jesus said Be gone Satan for it is written and then he quotes the word again for it is written, you shall worship the Lord, your God and serve him only. Now, notice this three times the enemy came to Jesus. Three times he tempted him. You're not really the Son of God. Or if you really are, throw yourself down. Or if you really are, then here have all these kingdoms. I'll give them to you. But each time that a thought came to him that was contradictory to God's word, Jesus responded. And this is how you win in spiritual warfare. Jesus responded with the Word of God and said it is written. And then he quoted the word, it is written and he quoted the word. The only way to win in spiritual warfare is to use the weapons that God has designed in order to win in spiritual warfare. And the weapon here that he's using is the Word of God, the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.
Now, I find it interesting that in Second Corinthians, Chapter ten, when we when he talks about spiritual warfare and says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they're mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting doubt imagination's and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Now that word captivity comes from a Greek word that is actually means it comes from two Greek words and they are translated as to conquer. One of the words for captivity is to conquer, and the other word is with a sword. So if you put these two words together to take a thought captive means to conquer that thought with a sword. Well, what sword do we have to conquer our thoughts with the Word of God, Ephesians 6:16-17 says the Word of God is the sword of the spirit.
So when the devil says you're a loser, you're a failure. You're never going to make it. When you hear these thoughts, the way to overcome the thoughts, that man, you're not going to make it or God doesn't love you or or or you're not strong enough or your prayers aren't going to get answered or you're a loser. You don't have enough education or you're not pretty enough or you're not smart enough or you don't have enough college degrees, you don't have enough money. You're never going to make it through this. You'll never overcome this. You'll never recover from this. You falling too many times. You'll never get up. The way we deal with those thoughts is not by agreeing with them. The way we deal with those thoughts is to conquer those thoughts with a sword.
And what sword? A scripture. A promise from God's word. Jesus said it is written. It is written. It is written. And then it says in verse eleven after the third time, then the devil left him. Then the devil left him, you know, we've been yelling at the devil, we've been trying to march around the situation seven times, hoping that the wall will come tumbling down like in Jericho. And we've been yelling at it and fasting at it and commanding the devil to leave. But when you stand there for declaring it is written, I'm healed by the stripes of Jesus and sickness comes again. I'm healed by the stripes of Jesus. Sickness comes again. I'm healed by the stripes of Jesus. Fear comes again. God's not give me the spirit of fear. You continue to resist the thought of fear.
We resist it with the thought of love or thought of faith, a thought of sickness. We resist with the word of healing, a thought of depression. We resist with the word of joy, a thought of financial pressure. And you'll never make it financially. We resist it with the thought of God's promise, about his provision for your life, my God, to supply all your needs according to his riches and glory. There's so many verses about it. You simply resist it by speaking out, speaking it out of your mouth, conquering it with a sword. And listen, the word coming out of your mouth is no different than the Word of God. Coming out of your mouth is no different than the Word of God coming out of Jesus mouth.
The Bible says the angels hearken to the voice of his word. They don't just hearken to his voice, they hearken to the voice of his word. So when you're speaking the Word of God, angels begin to move on your behalf, as it says in Psalm 103:20 and notice here.
In closing, it says in Matthew, chapter four, verse eleven, then the devil left him. And then you know what happened after as he continued to resist the enemy with the Word of God, that spiritual warfare, then the devil left him. And behold, angels came and ministered to him. Angels came, look at the this is spiritual warfare when you can when you can cause in one sentence you can cause the devils to flee and the angels to come. You are winning in spiritual warfare. And in one verse says the devil left him and angels came and ministered to him.
And as you speak God's word and refused to give up on God's word and resist those thoughts, every thought, contrary to God's word, resist it with the Scripture, with a promise from God's word, the devil will leave and the angels will come. They'll strengthen you, they'll empower you, and they will usher you into God's ultimate purpose and destiny for your life. Because in the very next passage of Scripture, Jesus came in the power of the spirit and began to preach, teach and heal. He stepped right into his purpose and right into his destiny. Why? Because he knew he was loved. That's weapon number one. And he knew the Word of God to speak the Word of God. That's weapon number two. When you put those two weapons together, demons will flee. Angels will come to step into your destiny and everything is going to be all right. Now, watch this.