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Understanding Spiritual Warfare In Today's Church

Author: Apostle Kelvin Franklin
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1. Introduction

     Today, there is a great need for all churches to join in the battle of spiritual warfare. Some churches seem to be more of a social club than a place of spiritual worship and ministry. Please understand, I am not teaching against any particular denomination or church nor am I excluding any.

     We need to all minister from a POINT OF BALANCE. Too many times we find only one theme being constantly presented in a given church. Faith, Sin, Salvation, Spirituality, Singing, Worshiping, Praising, Prayer, Deliverance and the list goes on.

     However, the bible teaches us that we need the WHOLE word of God. In ST JOHN, the first chapter, it teaches us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. Then in the 14th verse, it shows us that Jesus is the word (And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.)) In 1 JOHN 5:7 it says, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." This shows us the importance of the Word (Jesus.)

     I believe that the theme of every church should be Jesus, because he is the fullness of all that God is. In order to present Jesus, then, we must present and emphasize the whole word of God, not just part.

     1 CORINTHIANS chapters 12 through 14 reveal a lot about the make-up of the church. We have many members and parts of this body. In this body we also find many spiritual gifts given for its edification. Since God has allowed us to have many separate congregations, we need to minister as much of the whole word of God as we can, as the Holy Spirit /Holy Ghost leads (Also read EPHESIANS 4:11-15 and I PETER 2:1-2.)

     I believe that all of the spiritual gifts and the whole word of God must be taught in each church so that the members of that particular denomination can grow up into the fullness of Christ in God.

     If not, that portion of the body becomes malnourished and in its weakened state, it becomes open to the many attacks of satan and his demons. That is the reasons that there seems to be so much strife and division prevalent in many of our local churches today.

     In order for us to gain back a lot of the ground that has been taken from the church by satan, we must all begin to enter Spiritual Warfare on first a personal then an outreach basis.

     Let's lay some foundation as we begin to look at this. I am not going to try to teach you all that God has revealed unto me, but I want to raise your awareness in this area and give you a basis of understanding so that you can begin to search the scriptures for yourself.


     39. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

     If you keep track of your newspaper and television, you will begin to see that we are being confronted with story after story of satan making himself known in today's world. They use to attribute many of the evil things that were done as a normal part of today's society. However, more and more they are giving credit to satan and his evil forces. I mention this so that you will see how bold satan is becoming and at the same time see the need for us to join together in this spiritual warfare.

2. Study Tips

     This lesson is designed to promote your own personal study of the bible. I recommend a good concordance like Abingdon's Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible and a good bible dictionary. I have included numerous scriptures and references and have made comments on some. I encourage you to read and analyze each scripture and let the Spirit of God minister to you. You may also want to read the chapters to see the context of scripture setting. May God bless you in this study.

3. The Spiritual is more Real than the Natural

     This is the principle that heightened my awareness of the spiritual world and the things that we battle. The Word of God often talks of angels (HEBREWS 13:1) and how that even today they make come to our assistance. I highly recommend a study or look at angels and their purpose. You may want to take a concordance and look up every reference to angels. This will give you insight as to how they are portrayed in God's Word.

     First, God is a Spirit. He existed even before he created the world (ST JOHN 1:1-14.) The spirit world existed even before our natural world. Think about it.

     The devil was in heaven and known as Lucifer before he was cast out for exalting himself over God (ISAIAH 14:12-15.) He was there in the Garden to beguile Eve (He spoke to her through the personage of a snake: GENESIS 3:1-7.)

     He speaks to us today through thoughts. Some people go as far as to worship him and to invite his demons to indwell them.

     Before Adam sinned he was like God. He had no evil thoughts. He did not have the works of the flesh (Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envying, murders, drunkenness, and revellings (GALATIANS 5:19-21.)

     After Adam sinned and fell from right fellowship with God, satan had an open door (See hedge.) Why do you think Cain killed Abel: Jealously (Genesis 4:1-13?)

     We must take the whole word of God. Think about it. If we believe in God, his Son Jesus, and his Word, then we must believe in the devil (satan) as a real entity. God uses the angels to minister for him. Satan uses those fallen angels, to minister for him. As you study these and other subjects, may God open your eyes and reveal even more of himself to you.

     Think about this for a second: If God created an angel for everyone that has ever lived (PSALMS 34:7), then we could figure the number of angels are at least a trillion. Jesus had twelve legions of angels waiting to assist him (MATTHEW 26:53.) When satan fell from heaven, he took one third of heaven with him. These have become evil spirits. Imagine the number of evil spirits that exist in the world today. If we could look into the spirit world we would be able to see all the spirits that are there to attack us. Remember how Jesus cast the demons (evil spirits) out of the man in the country of the Gadarenes (ST MARK 5:1-19.) The devil called himself legion to signify that they were many. There were enough demons in this one man to cause 2000 swine to run off the cliff and kill themselves.

     These are the spirits that we war against today (1 JOHN 4:1-3.) It's no wonder that we experience so much trouble in the church and the world in general. We are being attacked on every side. However, we should take courage because the Lord said that he would lift up a standard in us against these attacks (ISAIAH 59:19.)

4. We are Called to be Soldiers in this Spiritual War


     1. Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

     2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

     3. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good solider of Jesus Christ.

     4. No man that WARRETH entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a solider.

      Here in these scriptures we see that we are chosen to be a solider in the army of the Lord. Also the reference is made that in order to please him (Christ) who has chosen us, we cannot be entangled with the affairs of this life. Maybe the reason that people don't want to talk about or live a life of spiritual warfare is because there is no freedom to get wrapped up in this world (cares of this life.) Abraham and the other patriarchs reckoned themselves to be strangers in the world in which they were living (HEBREWS 11:9-16.) The reason is that Satan controls this world.


     18. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest WAR A GOOD WARFARE;

     Here in this scripture Paul charges Timothy to war a good warfare.

     I could say many things about warfare but I leave that to your own thoughts and discussion. Think about the wars that you know about. Think about basic training in the military and then the act of sending men into battle. In basic training they learn the tactics of the enemy and how to use their weapons to fight and win. Consider this as your basic training session.

5. The Battle is Described

     The following scriptures give us an idea of what we are actually fighting against.


     10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

     11. Put on the whole ARMOUR OF GOD, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

     12. For we wrestle (indicates hand-to-hand combat, a struggle) not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

     Paul lets us know that evil is always present, but that we can overcome by walking after the Spirit (ROMANS 8:14 - 9:6.)

     We must be strong in the Lord, not in our own might. We need to dress up in the whole armour of God so that we can stand against the wiles of the Devil. We don't wrestle against each other, but against the devils and his organized fighting forces.


     3. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not WAR after the flesh:

     4. (FOR THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

     5. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

     Listen carefully, although we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. We do not fight one another. We are to war against the spirits that have inhabited situations.

     We need to bring all our thoughts into line with the word of God. We need to begin pulling down the strongholds that Satan has established in our lives and our churches. We should want every area of our life to be governed by the principles of God and his word.

     The Word of God is a spiritual book. It gives us things in the natural so that we can understand them in the spiritual. I pray that you gather this thought from this section, "WE DO NOT WRESTLE AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD." Since the spiritual was first, everything in this life is based on and reacts to what happens in the Spiritual. Satan went to God and discussed Job's (JOB 1:6 -2:3) situation before anything ever took place in his life.

     God wants to work in our life, but we must speak (pray) into being those things that we need (ST MATTHEW 21:21-22.) God spoke and there was. He has so ordained it that he will answer those who call on him. This is the reason we can ask for things by faith. By praying, we give God authority to operate in our lives and in the circumstances of others. Remember how he sought a man to stand in the gap so that he would not destroy the land of Israel (EZEKIEL 22:30?) Remember how Moses stood in the gap and prayed for the children of Israel that God would not destroy them for their disobedience? Satan desired to sift (destroy) the apostles as wheat but Jesus prayed for them. In other words, satan wanted to do with the apostles as he had done with Job but Jesus would not permit it (ST LUKE 22:31-32.) These battle are taking place in the spiritual world. We can war against satan by speaking out and praying in the natural (Whatsoever we bind in earth is bound in heaven.)

     We can go boldly to the throne of grace in the time of trouble (HEBREWS 4:16.) This gives us the authority to plead our case to God against satan. Just as he (satan) was there asking for Job, he is there asking to try us, to create trouble in our life.

6. We are Given Authority to Act Against the Devil

St MARK 16:

     15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

     16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.


     18. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

     Would God give us something that we would not need today? I don't think he would. Everything that he gave us is needed to live in victory today.

     This scripture mirrors the scripture that is given in ST MATTHEW 28:18-20. Most christians will take ST MATTHEW 28:18-20 in its entirety and use it as the basis for evangelizing the world. We go preaching the Gospel and baptizing. We should also be doing those miracles that the disciples did in the early church. If we are true believers, then some of these signs should also be following us.

     This scripture, as presented in ST MARK 16:15-18, however is seldom quoted or used. To evangelize the world the way that God meant it includes the use of all the things portrayed in ST MARK's presentation. We will need the authority that is given us in these scriptures to truly be effective in our ministry.

     In the name of Jesus we can cast out devils. We can lay hands on the sick and they will recover. We will need to speak with new tongues. God has protected us so that if we drink any deadly thing it will not hurt us.

     God has given us all the provisions for protection that we need.


     1. Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.

     2. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

     Many sickness are caused by demons. If you would study all the places where Jesus cast our demons in the new testament, you would see how healing took place in those people after the demons were gone.

     We are his disciples. We should go forth in the same manner as these disciples that he is giving instructions to.


     17. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

     18. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lighting fall from heaven.

     19. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: AND NOTHING SHALL BY ANY MEANS HURT YOU.

     20. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

     We need to take a stand as a bold solider in the army of the Lord. Take command over our own lives. Here again, in this scripture, he shows that he has given them power over all the evil spirits in this worlds. He also gives us protection. I believe that the reason God does this is that he wants us to be bold and courageous, not timid and shy. He will not allow us to die before our time. Knowing this, we should have the faith to go forth as God has commanded.


     Once we realize this power, we should not get lifted up with pride. Our only rejoicing is that our name is written in heaven. Pride was the cause of satan's fall, remember. See also verse 18 above.


     15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

     16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, he Son of the living God.

     17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

     18. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

     19. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

     Satan cannot prevail against the true universal church of God. Universal, meaning all true believers are in this church.

     From this scripture,we see that we have the authority to bind and loose things in this earth. And whatsoever we bind in the natural, this earth, will be bound in the spiritual, in heaven.

     We can also see how the Holy Spirit reveals things unto us. Peter knew that Jesus was the Son of God because the Holy Spirit told him. The Spirit of God gives us information through our spirit.


     16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

JOB 32:

     7. I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

     8. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

     God speaks to us through our spirit man. I believe our contact with the spirit world is through our spirit man.

     NOW, NOTE THE IMPLICATION OF THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURE: Jesus began to speak the truth, but the Devil did not want him to do the will of God. He tried to use Peter and his words to discourage Jesus. Jesus recognized this and rebuked the spirit of satan that was attempting to speak through Peter.


     21. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day

     22. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

     23. But he turned, and said unto to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things of God, but those that be of men. (Jesus spoke not to Peter, flesh and blood, but to the devil, principalities and power, because he knew the source of the thought)

     24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

     25. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

     At one instance Peter spoke as the Holy Ghost revealed information unto him. On the other hand, he spoke as satan tried to give him misleading information that sounded good. What Peter said was right from a human point of view, but it was wrong from a spiritual point of view. It directly conflicted with God's perfect plan.

7. What is Satan Doing Today

     His job is to steal, kill, and destroy (ST JOHN 10:10.)


     3. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

     4. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

     Satan has blinded the minds of those who are lost. He wants to keep it that way. We are the only ones who can change that fact. How, we have the power and the authority to bind him up so that he can no longer operate in their lives. Then, they may begin to see the truth of God's word.

     Many christians are blind also. They do not want to accept the fact that satan is exerting a lot of influence in their lives. We must, if we will survive.

8. How to Recognize Satan at Work Today

     Satan is alive and well in today's society. We need to study the word of God so that we will be able to recognize him.

     A. Symptoms of Indwelling Demons

     Here are some common symptoms of indwelling demons. This excerpt is from the book Pigs in the Parlor by Frank and Ida Mae Hammond, Pg 28.

    (1) Emotional Problems

     Disturbances in the emotions which persist or recur. Some of the most common disturbances are resentment, hatred, anger, fear, rejection, (feeling unwanted and unloved), self-pity, jealousy, depression, worry, inferiority, and insecurity

     (2) Mental Problems

     Disturbances in the mind of though life, such as mental torment, procrastination, indecision, compromise, confusion, doubt, rationalization and loss of memory.

     (3) Speech Problems

     Outbursts or uncontrolled use of the tongue. These include lying, cursing, blasphemy, criticism, mockery, railing, and gossip

     (4) Sex Problems

     Recurring unclean thoughts and acts regarding sex. These include fantasy sex experiences, masturbation, lust, perversions, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, incest, provocativeness and harlotry.

     (5) Addictions

     The most common addictions are to nicotine, alcohol, drugs, medicines, caffeine and food.

     (6) Physical Infirmities

     Many diseases and physical afflictions are due to spirits of infirmity (see ST LUKE 13:11.) When a demon of infirmity is cast out there is often the need to pray for a healing of whatever damage has resulted. Thus, there is a close relationship between deliverance and healing.

     (7) Religious Error

     Involvement to ANY DEGREE in religious error can open the door for demons. Objects and literature from sources of religious error have been know to attract demons into houses.

          (a) False Religions: False religions, e.g. Eastern Religions, pagan religions, philosophies, and mind sciences. Note: this includes such popular interests as yoga exercises karate which cannot be divorced from heathen worship.

          (b) Christian Cults: Christian Cults (those that confuse the necessity for Christ's blood as the way of atonement for sin and for salvation)

          (c) Occult and Spiritism: Occult and Spiritism, e.g. seances, witchcraft, magic, ouija boards, levitation, palmistry, handwriting analysis, automatic handwriting, ESP, hypnosis, horoscopes, astrology, divination, etc. NOTE: Any method of seeking supernatural knowledge, wisdom, guidance and power apart from God is forbidden! (See: DEUTERONOMY 18:9-15). Also, Masonry and Eastern Stars!!

          (d) False Doctrines: False Doctrine. I Timothy. 4:1 warns of great increases of doctrinal errors promoted by deceiving and seducing spirits in the last days. Such doctrines are designed to attack both the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ; to deny the inspiration of Scripture; to distract Christians from the move of the Spirit; to cause disunity in the Body of Christ; to cause confusion in the Church through obsession with doctrines coupled with a compulsion to propagate such doctrines; to puff up with a sense of superiority in revelation, making the one in error unteachable; and to foster emphasis upon fleshly activities as a gateway to the spiritual as in asceticism and vegetarianism.

     B. Discerning Spirits

1 JOHN 4:

     1. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

     2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

     3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

     4. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

     We are challenged to not believe every spirit that comes forth for many false prophets are gone out into the world. For example, you know which spirit is operating through you most of the time. You know when the spirit of love is operating through you. It will cause you to love everyone. You also know when the spirit of hate, jealousy, murder or others are working through you. They will cause you to say something that you will have to ask forgiveness for. Paul even asked the Corinthians to examine themselves (2 CORINTHIANS 13:5-6) whether they were in the faith or not. He was also trusting them to know that he was not a reprobate.

     We as christians accept too many thoughts without discerning them first. Remember Peter in the 16th chapter of ST MATTHEW, on one hand he spoke what the Holy Ghost had revealed while on the other hand he spoke what satan wanted Jesus to hear. On the one hand it was received and acknowledged and on the other hand satan was rebuked and the thought was rejected. Remember Peter, if he had gotten his way, the message of the Gospel would not have been preached to the gentiles, but thanks be to God for the vision (ACTS 10th and 11th chapters.)

     We must allow God to teach us to discern what is good and bad. It's not right just because the pastor or someone else important says so. Jim Jones would never have led all those people to their death if this scripture had been observed.


9. How to Fight

     This section will give us principle so we can effectively fight satan.

     A. Understand how Satan Works


     12. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

     13. For thou hast said in thine heart,

            I will ascend into heaven,

            I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:

            I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the North

     14. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;    

            I will be like the most high

     15. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

     Many times when we think we are speaking for ourselves, we are actually speaking for satan. When we say "I will" on numerous occasion, the spirit of satan at work in our lives.

     If we could see the spirit world, we could see the many spirit that come to infect us. They stand around giving us thoughts. We try to clear our minds, but the thoughts keep coming back. We need to use the principles of warfare and command those spirits to leave. When they are gone, so will the evil thoughts. We should command the spirits to leave until we feel peace: some of them are stubborn.

     Let's show a practical application of what I'm talking about. You are just sitting around and all of a sudden a lustful thought enters your mind. We would normal fight this by saying that we won't entertain it. I don't know about you, but I find the thought keeps coming back. This is because an evil spirit is around you interjecting this thought into your mind. Now, if you bind this evil spirit associated with this thought in the name of Jesus, and command it to be cast away from you, it must leave. After a few minutes, you will find that your mind will clear and this thought will be gone. If you begin to act on it, you will see that it works. Apply it to all areas of your life and you will begin to live in victory. For example, satan does not want us reading our bibles so he will send different spirits to distract us (they push us to watch tv, read a book, or do other activities.) If we bind the spirits behind these thoughts, we will find ourselves with the motivation and the time to read and study the word of God.

     [I use to be under the misconception that all my temptations came from within. Through this knowledge I learned that a great majority of it was external to me, coming from evil spirits. When I started casting them away from me, I started a victorious walk in Jesus. Even when it was something I really wanted, I found out that if I could just get into the will of God long enough to just rebuke it, then I would be able to overcome the temptation and have victory.]


     13. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

     14. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

     Remember the man they called the Night Stalker. He had the spirit of murder dwelling in him. He did what that spirit commanded. Why else would he kill over 20 people.

     Divorce: this is a spirit that comes, and makes us reach the point that we are no longer satisfied with ourselves. When we are in the Spirit of God we are content with what we have. When we are in satan, we are not satisfied no matter what we have. How else can you explain the fact that a married couple who is content somehow become totally dissatisfied with one another after a few months.

     The spirit produces in us the fruit of what it is. If its the Holy Ghost, it will be (GALATIANS 5:22-23) Love, Joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,

     If it is of satan it will be Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings (GALATIANS 5:19-21.)

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