For many of us, September 11, 2001, will be a day we will never forget. Our country was at war with an unseen enemy. But God wants us to realize the spiritual battle we face and the unseen enemy we must be prepared to fight. Who is our enemy?
A. America was physically attack on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941. On Dec 8, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stood before a joint session of Congress and spoke for just over 7 minutes. His speech opened with these words:
“Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
B. Over 2400 people lost their lives that day. The end result was a declaration of war by the US and our entrance into WWII.
C. Then it happened again, Sept. 11, 2001. Fifteen years ago on this date. For some of you it has been your lifetime or most of it. For some of us, it is a date that we cannot forget. It was the most deadly attack on American soil since Dec. 7, 1941.
D. On Sept. 20, 2001 President George W. Bush stood before a joint session of congress. And said, “On Sept. 11, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country…Americans have known surprise attacks, but never before on thousands of civilians.”
E. The end result was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and “the War on Terror” began. It is an unseen enemy. Terror comes in many forms and from many people. It is driven by hate. It desires death. It consumes the ones who want to destroy others and leave people feeling scared, helpless, and unsure.
F. As those atrocities upon us were horrendous and caused our country to live differently, I ask you to think about another unseen enemy, another ongoing “sneak attack.” The problem is this time we often don’t respond, and the casualties are much higher. For we have an enemy who hates, murders, and wants to defeat you spiritually. How do you face such an unseen enemy?
I. Know Your Enemy
A. We have played around with spiritual warfare for centuries. We have made light of our foe and turned Satan into a red suited-pitch forked character that sits on our shoulder. We don’t fear him because we often don’t believe he really interacts.
B. Yet Jesus described him clearly (John 8:44-45). Peter picks up the same picture (1 Peter 5:8). But John gives us another fearful image in Rev. 12:7-9, 13-17.
C. Paul gives the church in Ephesus a warning. He pleads with his brothers and sisters to wake up to the working of evil. So we come to our text and name our unseen enemy. READ Eph. 6:10-12
D. What does Satan desire? He desires all men everywhere to live separated from God. He desires sin to have the mastery over you and for you to feel so defeated that you are hopeless to ever walk with God again. That’s what he wants. Satan, his evil angels, and sin that now flows through this world seeks to kill and destroy. Knowing that, allows you and me to stand against him – but not on our own.
II. Know Your Power Source
A. We need to wake up and stand up. We need to strengthen ourselves with God’s armor, because we don’t have to be defeated. We don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have fall to the schemes of the devil.
A. Standing up against evil on your own power seems to be an exercise in futility. Jesus made it fairly clear that Peter would not be able to stand on his own against Satan. But Jesus prayed for Peter, “that when he returned” (did you catch that?) Jesus knew Peter would fall but he also knew Peter would return. And he told Peter that when he returned he was to “strengthen his brothers.”
B. Our power is not ours, but the very power of God. The armor that we will study next week is God’s armor. It is God who protects us. Power that is great enough to cast Satan out of heaven is given to you and me, but we have to know the power source.
C. Jesus asked his disciple, “Who do men say that I am?” He got some complimentary answers. Then he asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter gave the great replay, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” But Jesus took that answer probably to place Peter didn’t think about going.
D. Listen to Matt. 16:17-18. Look at that last phrase. The very gates of hell (Hades/death) will NOT prevail against it (the church). The church marches on the gate of evil. The church, empowered by God, is victorious because God is victorious. Listen to 1 John 4:4. “You HAVE overcome them (the false prophets and evil spirits) because HE who is IN you is greater than he who is in the world.”
A. Paul’s warning to the Ephesian Christians is not get ready to die, but get ready to live. We live and walk in the power of God. Yes, there is evil and yes we fail our beloved redeemer. But Jesus has prayed for us also. We too can “return and strengthen our brothers.”
B. Don’t let fear of Satan grip you. Leave today with the power of God flowing through you, marching you on to victory. I leave you with these words that Paul told Timothy (2 Tim. 1:7).
C. The power of God is at work, but that power begins with salvation. In the grace of God we can be washed clean from the sin that we have wallowed in. The blood of Jesus, the cleaning power of that blood can wash you clean and the gift of God can be at work setting you from Satan. If you need to respond to God’s call for power, come as we stand and sing.