Standing Firm Against Satan PT.1
Biblical Sermon Outline
By Pastor Ron Jones, www.titusinstitute.com
There is a spiritual war going on that Satan is waging against God and all those who are God’s children. His desire is to set up a rival kingdom of angels and humans who are committed to his evil goal of rebellion against God. God has allowed Satan to set up this rival kingdom within limits that God has set. If we are to stand firm against Satan, we need to know how he works and how we can stand firm against him.
We are going to study the major NT text on this subject from Eph.6:10-17 where Paul talks about standing firm against Satan and putting on the Armor of God. We will also study other Bible passages.
Eph 6:10-17 is divided into five points.
The way to victory
I. The preparation
How do we prepare for battle with Satan and his hosts? How do we make ourselves ready now before he attacks so that when he does we will not be defeated?
There are two things we need to do to prepare for battle:
Depend on the Lord’s power and put on the full armor of God
A. Depend on the Lord’s power
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”
Paul begins with strength and power, but not our own. “Be strong” (v.10) is passive and has the idea of “be strengthened” or “receive strength” from another source.
“In the Lord” means “in union with Him.” “To be strong in union with the Lord” means “to receive spiritual strength from the Lord in our battle with Satan.” “Mighty” refers to all God’s omnipotent and infinite power that He possesses. “Power” refers to all that power being used. This means that Christians are to use God’s mighty infinite power to defend against Satan’s attacks.
What kind of power does God have? Does he have the power to defeat Satan?
1. God has unlimited power, Satan has limited power.
2. God is sovereign over Satan and rules over all his activities.
Job.1:6-12 (specifically, v.12)
Job.2:1-6 (specifically, v.6)
God gives Satan permission to attack Job who is a believer and puts limits on it. God is the most powerful being in the universe. His power is infinitely superior to Satan’s. All of Satan’s works are under God’s control. God allows Satan to work. God allows him to have a kingdom for a temporary period of time.
How do we use God’s omnipotent power when Satan Attacks?
First – depend on it
“Be strong” implies that we need to depend on God to work in
our lives to defeat Satan and we are to depend on him by putting on the
armor of God.
B. Put on the full armor of God
Paul was imprisoned under house arrest guarded by a Roman soldier when he wrote this letter to the Ephesians and the letters of Philippians and Colossians. So he was familiar with the armor of a Roman soldier.
So, Paul tells us that God has provided us a spiritual armor to fight Satan with an “armor of God”
What we have to do with this armor is “put it on.”
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
Now “what does “put on the armor of God” mean practically?
This is a metaphor, a comparison. “Armor” refers to “certain characteristics we need to have in our lives.” “Put on” means to make these characteristics a part of our lives, a part of the regular pattern of our lives.
So, “breastplate of righteousness” refers to the characteristic of righteousness. “To put on the breastplate of righteousness” means to make righteousness a part of your life, the regular pattern of your life.
“Put on” also has the idea of commitment, making a commitment to make each of these characteristics of the armor a part of our lives.
“Full armor” shows that every one of these characteristics must be a part of our lives if we are to defeat Satan. If you are missing any part, Satan will hit you there. He will attack your weakest link.
What is the armor? There are six pieces of the armor or six characteristics we need to put in our lives.
1. Belt of truth
2. Breastplate of righteousness
3. Shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace
4. Shield of faith
5. Helmet of salvation
6. Sword of the spirit
These are the characteristics that need to be in our lives, every one of them, all the time, on a daily basis. Characteristics of godliness are the same as characteristics of Christ (Rom.13:14) which are the same as the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23).
Then Paul tells us why we need to put on the full (whole) armor of God.
C. The purpose of the preparation – to stand firm
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
“Take our stand” (v.11) can also be translated “stand firm.” The purpose of wearing the armor is so that we might be able to stand firm. God wants us not to fall, not to give into temptation, but to stand firm in what we believe and doing what we know to be right.
And what are we to stand firm against? “the devil’s schemes”
II. The enemy
A. Our enemy is the devil, the slanderer.
The “devil” (v.11) is called by several names in Scripture, “Satan,” “Evil one,” “Serpent.” Each brings out an aspect of his character.
“Devil” literally in the Greek means “slanderer,” that is “one who slanders another.” Slander is making false statements, lies about someone else in order to damage their character and reputation before others. This is what the devil is, a slanderer against God. He lies about God so that others may think falsely about God, who he is, what he is like, and what he desires for us.
III. The Battle – how Satan attacks us.
A. The Strategy of Satan in the Battle - deception v. 11
In v. 11 Paul describes for us how Satan is going to attack. God gives to us Satan’s strategy. This is crucial if we can know how the enemy is going to attack then we can be ready for the attack.
v.11 “the devil’s schemes.”
He attacks through “schemes” which means “well-planned out deceit, strategic lies.”
”To deceive” is to make someone believe a lie to gain something for the deceiver.
The devil is a slanderer, which means he is a liar. His primary method with which he attacks human beings is through lies to deceive them into believing something false about God or God’s plan in order to get them to rebel against God.
“…for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
The Jews were believing the Satanic lie that being a physical descendent of Abraham was enough to enter the kingdom of God (v.37). True faith and repentance of the heart were not needed. Therefore, they were actually children of the devil, believing his lies rather than God’s truth. Jesus reveals Satan’s chief weapon, lies.
He lies about who God is, what God is like, what we are like, what God desires for us to do, how to be saved, etc., etc., etc. This is how he attacks us – through lies.
Satan cannot take away a believer’s salvation or spiritually harm a believer. Satan can only deceive a believer.
The purpose of his lying is to get believers to disregard the revelation of God and not follow it.
An example of how Satan does this comes from Gen.3:1-4.
This is how he worked in the garden. He lied about the consequences of sin and implied that God was a liar. He said that there was going to be no death as a result of eating the fruit. He also lied about God’s motive and character. He implied that God was motivated by jealousy and selfishness.
The devil deceived Eve. She believed his lies.
B. The Power of Satan in the Battle - Invisible evil spirits dominating and directing the unbelieving world
Satan and his demons dominate and direct unbelievers throughout the world.
1. Their power and authority over the unbelieving world defined
After Paul defines the strategy of Satan to use lies in our lives, Paul wants us to understand how powerful these lies can be because behind them is a powerful enemy.
v. 12 “For our struggle”
The Greek word “struggle” is a word used for a personal struggle, not a group struggle.
It refers to the fact that each of us as believers will have personal and intense spiritual struggles with Satan’s lies and be tested whether we will stand firm in our commitment to the Lord.
Satan’s weapons are specially selected lies to get you to distrust God or believe something untrue about God to get you to sin. Lies based on your weaknesses and tendencies. He will bring people into your lives to perpetrate these lies.
The words “not flesh and blood” refers to the flesh and blood of human beings. These fallen angels are not flesh and blood. They are not human; they are spirits, which mean they are invisible and powerful.
It does not mean that we don’t face human enemies who spread Satan’s lies or persecute us, but the real struggle is not against them, it is against the evil spirits behind them.
“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.”
Paul describes all the demons with their leader, Satan, as a whole group in four ways.
1. They are rulers – they have subjects they rule
2. They are authorities – they have authority to dominate and direct fallen man
3. They are powerful rulers over the whole world of darkness
4. They are evil spirits operating in the invisible spirit realm.
1) They are rulers – they have subjects they rule - unbelievers
v. 12 They are “rulers”
They rule over fallen human beings. Being “rulers” over fallen
man has the idea of domination and direction. They dominate fallen man and
they direct them to accomplish their goals.
2) They are authorities or powers – they have authority and power to dominate and direct unbelievers.
v. 12 They are “authorities.”
This rule comes from authority that God himself has given to them over fallen man in judgment on fallen man and for God’s purposes. They have spiritual authority by God to dominate and direct fallen man. They’re limited in this authority.
They can only do what God allows them to do, but they have it. They have authority to accomplish a certain amount of evil in this world and to influence fallen man toward evil.
Their rule and authority over fallen man is further defined by Paul in 2 Cor.4: 4.
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God
God has allowed Satan to blind the minds of those who do not know Christ and thus because they are blinded, they can be controlled by the lies of Satan.
3) They are powerful rulers and authorities in the whole world of darkness, of sin and error in the hearts and minds of unbelievers.
v. 12 They are “powers of this dark world”
They are “powers of this dark world” – rulers of the darkness of this age.
“Powers” means that they have the ability to dominate and direct.
“Dark world” refers to the sin, evil, and wickedness of all fallen humans and rebellious angels.
So, Paul is saying that the demons have powerful control over the sinful attitudes, words, and actions of fallen man based on their evil lies.
4) They are evil spirits operating in the invisible spirit realm.
v. 12 “…and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
“Spiritual forces” reminds us that demons are powerful and forceful spirits.
These are evil angels who have rebelled against God. Angels are spirits who are invisible and have no bodies although they are capable of taking on human form and inhabiting a human body.
Where do these spirits dwell? In the “heavenly realms”
The “heavenly realms” in other translations is the “spirit realm.” The term “spirit realm” is a general word used in the NT of the realm where all spirits live.
The spirit realm can be divided into two major parts:
1) the realm of heaven where God and his holy angels dwell and
2) the realm above and next to the earth, called the domain of the air. This is where Satan and his demons dwell.
The evil angels dwell in the spirit realm below heaven and around the earth. This is the kingdom of the air.
“the ruler of the kingdom of the air”
The term “air” also tells us that these spirits do not walk around on the ground, they are aerial spirits in this spirit realm, moving around in the spirit realm.
When Satan and his demons rebelled against God, they were kicked out of heaven as their dwelling place. They can no longer live there.
However, Satan and his demons have limited access to heaven by God’s permission.
Job 1: 6-7
Rev. 12:10 tells us that Satan accuses us day and night before God. After this event, which happens some time in the future probably during the Great tribulation Satan is hurled out of heaven never to have access there again.
By the way, the idea that God could not allow Satan into his presence because Satan is evil is taking a human idea of holiness and projecting it on God, rather than allowing Scripture to speak and saying we don’t know how that is possible, but it is because he does.
Why does God do that? Because it keeps God in control and it is a continual rebuke to Satan and a continual glorification of how God continues to thwart evil and redeem people.
So why does Paul mention that they are spiritual forces?
To remind us that Satan and his demons are invisible. We can’t see them as they manipulate the world so we have to recognize their work, their lies.
Always ask yourself “Is there any lie that I might be believing?”
Always ask yourself, “What does the Bible say?”
Look for his lies that you might be falling into believing and turn away
from them and hold to the truth and live righteously.