Robert Jeffress - Winning Your Unseen Battles
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. In the Bible he's known by many names, the tempter, the serpent, the father of lies, but most of us just know him as Satan. Yes, the devil is real with real power, and whether you realize it or not, he's doing everything he can to sabotage your faith, your family, and your future. Today, I want to expose the invisible war that Satan is waging on every follower of Christ. My message is titled, "Winning Your Unseen Battles" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. It lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the twilight zone. Beyond the natural entertainment value of the twilight zone, I think one reason it was so popular is that it tapped into that sensation that we all have from time to time, that there's more to this world than that which we see with the naked eye. We all have that sensation that there's something more than we see, how else you explain the coincidences in life that can't be attributed to chance, or those feelings of intuition that turned out to be correct. How do we explain that sensation when we are alone, that in fact, we are not alone?
Rod Serling was correct, there is another dimension of life. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It's not the twilight zone, it's the spirit world. And it's the world in which God and Satan, demons and angels reside, and it's a world that is responsible for the major struggles you and I face every day. And by the way, this parallel universe that we don't see, but is very real, is in fact more real than the visible world around us.
You see, the Bible says that everything we can see right now and touch and feel, one day, everything around us is going to be destroyed by fire, and all that will remain will be our spirits that will inhabit a new body, on a new heaven and a new earth that the choir is singing about. Now granted, not everybody believes that there is this invisible spirit world out there. Some people are what we call naturalist. They believe all that is real is that which you can see and measure. But think with me again, how foolish that is even in the world of science.
For example, it's only in man's recent history, that we've known about the existence of germs and atoms and molecules and electricity. But would anybody here argue those things only came into reality when man discovered them? Well no, they've been around since the beginning of time. The fact is, we only have seen them recently, but they have been real from the beginning. How foolish it is to limit what is real to that which we see with the naked eye, or that which we can measure. There is another world out there. What is that world like? And more importantly, what is our place in that unseen world?
If you have your Bibles right now I want you to turn to Ephesians chapter six. Although this parallel universe, this invisible world is not visible to the naked eye, God has given us an instrument through which we can see this unseen world. It is an instrument more powerful than any telescope or microscope. It's through the lens of scripture that we're able to see this unseen world. And then Paul gives us a glimpse of this unseen world in Ephesians six, verse 12, it is through the lens of scripture that we see a raging war between good and evil in this unseen, invisible world.
Look at what Paul says in Ephesians six, verse 12, "For our struggle 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". Paul says we are in a struggle, and who is our adversary? He says, it's not against flesh and blood. It's not against people, you may think your biggest struggle in life right now is against that unloving mate, or that unresponsive boss, you may think your greatest battle in life is against circumstances, Paul says no, your greatest struggle in life is against those unseen forces of wickedness in heavenly places. We are in a spiritual battle, and the outcome determines our eternity.
Now you may wonder, well, why should those of us who are worried about surviving the next round of layoffs at our job or trying to make our mortgage payment, or trying to steer our children through adolescence, why should we be concerned about some cosmic battle out there between God and Satan, between good and evil? Let me illustrate if I can, why this battle is so important for us to understand.
On September 11th, 2001, do you remember where you are at that time when the news came of what had happened our nation? I remember we were in Wichita Falls and I was standing there, drinking a cup of coffee, getting ready to take my girls to school, drop them off at school when I stood there watching on the today show that gaping hole in the first of the twin towers, the World Trade Center. And I remember hearing the commentators speculate endlessly about what caused that plane to crash in that tower. Some people said it was pilot error. In fact, George Bush reportedly said when he heard about the first plane that struck he said, that is one bad pilot, and we all felt that way. We thought, well, maybe this was just a freak accident, but when that second plane slammed into the second tower, everyone immediately knew we were under enemy attack.
Now had it been in fact pilot error, the solution to further catastrophes would have been better pilot training. If indeed the problem had been caused by a malfunction and navigational equipment, then the solution would be better equipment. But because we were under enemy attack, suddenly we had to develop a whole new strategy to deal with the problem. Remember this, knowing the source of a problem is the key to determining the solution for the problem. Only when you know the source of a problem, can you really determine the solution for a problem.
Now, let me relate that to your world and my world. Every day we are attacked by seemingly random circumstances in life and therefore we respond accordingly. Couples divorce at record rates, so what do we do? Well, we develop marriage enrichment seminars. Kids get on narcotics, so we develop drug education programs, we think that is the solution. Christian men become involved in pornography and so we develop accountability groups in the church. Christian men and women feel depressed and so we give them our latest medications.
Now don't misunderstand, I'm all for marriage enrichment seminars, I'm all for accountability groups, I'm all for a medication when necessary to treat a problem, but what if the source of our problem, the real source was something else. What if indeed, we are under enemy attack? Wouldn't that mean that we needed a new strategy to deal with those problems? Knowing the source of a problem is the key to determining the solution to our problem.
Go back to Ephesians six, verse 12 for a moment, Paul says, the real source of our struggle, it's not people, it's not circumstances, it is against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. The bottom line source of all of our difficulties, Paul says, is spiritual warfare. And that's why if we're going to survive Satan's attack against our faith, our family, and our future, we better develop a strategy built on the source of the problem. And that's what we're going to do in this series, "Spirit wars, winning your unseen battles".
You know, Paul says this struggle is not some spat between cosmic forces, God and Satan. We can't sit on the sidelines and say, you know, I think I'll let them duke it out and then after it's over, I'll come on the scene. No, he says in this verse in verse 12, our struggle, it's not God's struggle alone, it is our struggle. Why do we have a stake in this battle? One reason is we are constantly facing invasions from without, whether or not you realize it ladies and gentlemen, you are living in the crossfire of that spiritual battle between God and Satan, and not to be aware of it is to ensure your defeat.
The late pastor Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, "Not to realize that you are in a conflict means only one thing and that is that you are so hopelessly defeated and so knocked out as it were, that you don't even know it. You've already been completely defeated by the devil. Anyone who is not aware of a fight and a conflict in a spiritual sense, is in a drugged and hazardous condition". Admittedly, most Christians today are not aware that they are in the middle of a spiritual struggle, even though they see the fallout of that struggle all around them, broken marriages, divided churches, wayward children, we see all of these symptoms of spiritual warfare, but we fail to connect the dots. One reason we need to be aware of the war in which we are fighting is because of the invasions we face from without, but secondly, the invasions we face from within.
You see, there's not only a war that is being waged around us, there is a war going on in your heart and my heart as well. Every Christian is a walking battlefield. We carry that civil war inside of us. My friend Steve Lawson describes it this way, he says, "Deep within the hidden recesses of the human heart, a bloodless battle is being fought, a life and death struggle for our soul. This intense spiritual warfare is raging between God and Satan upon the invisible battlefields of our hearts. As long as we are upon this earth, every square inch of space, and every split second of time in our lives, is in the arena of war".
The moment you are born into this world, you are born into a war zone. In case all of this talk of spiritual warfare seems like spiritual paranoia to you, let me remind you of just some of the verses in scripture that describe the war that you and I are engaged in. Jot down these verses on your outline, you can look at them later:
2 Corinthians 10:4-5, "For the weapons our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ".
Ephesians 6:11-12, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle 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".
Philippians 2:25, Paul said, "But I thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier".
1 Timothy 1:18, "This command I entrust to you Timothy, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you that by them you might fight the good fight of faith".
2 Timothy 2:3-4, "Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, no soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier".
You know, at some point, we have to determine whether we believe this book is really the Word of God. And if we believe this book really is the Word of God, then we have to believe what it says about this life. And that is we are in an intense spiritual struggle, we are in the midst of war. Furthermore, we can't say things like, well, I don't have a dog in that fight. You know, that's a favorite Texas expression, that's between God and Satan. Or we can't say things like, well, I'm a lover, not a fighter. No, we have to get right in the middle of this battle because we are in the middle of this battle.
Remember Luke 11:23 Jesus said, "He who is not with me, is against me". When you become a Christian, when you become a part of God's kingdom, suddenly God's enemy becomes your enemy. Suddenly God's chief antagonist becomes your chief adversary. One writer said it this way, "God now has an enemy and so do we. Man is not born into a sitcom or a soap opera, he is born into a world at war. This is not an episode of home improvement, it's saving private Ryan". That's the world in which we live. And to say, well, I'm just not going to worry about that is to ensure your own demise.
Now, some people say I'm just frightened about that, I'm not sure I'm up to defeating Satan's plan to destroy my life. Here's some more good news, Satan's power has already been destroyed. His future, his destruction is ensured. But even though ultimately his power has been destroyed, ultimately sin has no more power over your life than you choose to allow it to have, don't underestimate his power right now, in your life. Somebody has said Satan is like a junkyard dog on a very long chain. Even though his power to destroy is limited, it's still considerable.
And you may be one of those people, one of those Christians who is a little bit wary of the whole subject of spiritual warfare. Yeah, you believe there's a Satan, you believe in the reality of demons, you're aware that there's some conflict going on, but you're not sure what you can do about it if anything at all. And you sure you don't want to do anything weird, like exorcizing demons out of your friends and family members, or you know, wearing that garlic necklaces and carrying a big cross in order to ward off the devil, you're just not up for those kind of things. I understand that. The fact is, we don't have to be weird to ward off the influence of Satan. And in this series, we're going to be extremely practical as well as intensely biblical. We're going to look for balance, what we can do to protect our faith, our family and our future.
In his book, "The Screwtape Letters" C.S lewis writes, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. Satan and his demons are equally pleased by both errors". We're going to be balanced in this series about our approach to demons and to Satan. But don't mistake balanced with passive, we cannot be passive in this very real war, in which we are in the middle of.
The Sun Tzu, the ancient warrior Sun Tzu observed, "The art of war is a vital importance. It is a matter of life and death, a road to either safety or to ruin. Hence, under no circumstances can it be ignored". Listen to me this morning, you right now are in the midst of an invisible but a very real war. The stakes are high, your enemy is skilled and determined. The possibility of losing everything important to you is very real. You must be aware of and prepare for the fight. And in the weeks ahead, we're going to learn these strategies from scripture to help you win the greatest battle of all.