Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
• Write the Key Verse from memory.
• Identify the purpose of God.
• Identify the purpose for which Jesus came into the world.
• Explain the six point battle plan for spiritual warfare.
KEY VERSE FROM THE ARTICLES OF WAR:
He that committeth sin is of the Devil; for the Devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil. (I John 3:8)
This chapter introduces the basic battle for spiritual warfare. It is a strategy resting upon understanding the purposes of our warfare and based upon communication with our Commander-in-Chief by prayer, fasting, and the written Word of God.
When you do not understand God’s purpose and plan, you may be tempted to become discouraged in the conflicts of life. This is why many Christian soldiers fail in warfare: They do not understand the divine purpose behind the battle.
…For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men. You will only find yourselves fighting against God. (Acts 5:38-39 New International Version)
And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
THE PURPOSE OF WARFARE
From the beginning of time, every natural battle that has been fought always had a purpose for which it was waged. Before we examine God’s battle plan, it is important to understand the purpose of spiritual warfare. This involves understanding the purposes of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son.
THE PURPOSE OF GOD:
It is God’s purpose that…
…in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth… (Ephesians 1:10)
From the beginning of time, Satan has battled against the fulfillment of this purpose. Your own warfare in the spirit world is related to this purpose of God. Satan battles to bring your heart, mind, spirit, and soul into allegiance to him instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. God works in you to accomplish His purpose:
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
God also works through your life to accomplish His purposes:
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)
When you yield yourself to become “an instrument of righteousness unto God,” it means you bring your life and ministry in harmony with His purpose and plans. By doing this, you become a target for God’s enemy, Satan.
THE PURPOSE OF JESUS:
He that committeth sin is of the Devil; for the Devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil. (I John 3:8)
The reason Jesus came into the world was to destroy the works of Satan. This immediately set Him in opposition to the enemy:
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
From the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus set about destroying the works of Satan:
• He revealed the bondage of sin (John 8:34).
• He forgave sins (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12,17; Luke 4:17-32).
• He stressed the heart condition rather than the deception of outward appearance (Matthew 15:16-20; Mark 7:20-23; Luke 6:45; 11:39).
• He healed the sick (Matthew 11:5).
• He raised people from the dead (Mark 5:35-43; Luke 8:49- 56; John 11).
• He released people from demonic powers (Matthew 8:16).
In summary, He destroyed the works of Satan in the hearts, souls, minds, and bodies of men and women:
The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. (Matthew 11:5)
Jesus not only destroyed the works of Satan, He also exposed the devious strategies of the enemy:
• He taught on the deception of Satan which would increase during the last days on earth (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 17:22-37; 21:8-36; Matthew 24-25).
• He warned of Satan who was able to destroy the soul (Matthew 10:28).
• He spoke of the necessity of binding the strong man (Satan) before spoiling his goods (Matthew 12:26-30; Mark 3:23-27; Luke 11:17-24).
• He revealed how Satan tries to prevent the Word of God from being effective in the hearts of men and women (Matthew 13:38; Mark 4:15; Luke 8:12).
• He exposed those who were not right with God as being of their “father, the devil” (John 8:44-47).
• He revealed Satan as the “prince of the world” (John 14:30).
THE GREAT DIVISION
Although Jesus came to bring the peace of God (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7), and peace with God (Romans 5:1), His coming also brought division:
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-36)
Jesus divided all men into two battle camps. It is not possible to be neutral:
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)
He that is not with me is against me… (Luke 11:23)
Jesus spoke of this great division in a story about two paths, one which was straight and narrow and one which was broad. He warned of the deception of Satan’s broad path which many took (Matthew 7:13-14). Through the account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), Jesus removed the veil between life and death. He let men see the end result of choosing the wrong way.
Because He destroyed and exposed the works of Satan, Jesus was under assault throughout His earthly life. The enemy constantly tried to destroy Him or prevent Him from fulfilling the mission for which He had come. The moment He was born, an attempt was made on His life.
During His public ministry there were several plots on His life and at least one attempt which was aborted. He met the opposition of demonic powers, religious leaders, His own followers, and Satan.
When you align yourself with the plan and purposes of Jesus by accepting Him as your Savior, you become part of the army that wars against Satan. The purposes of Jesus become your purposes and this sets you in a tactical position of direct opposition to the enemy.
THE BATTLE PLAN
There are many different Scriptural strategies that can be used in spiritual warfare, but the basic battle plan for believers is revealed by observing how Jesus dealt with the enemy. The basic
battle plan for spiritual warfare is based on six major points. These are:
• The Word Of God
• Delegated Power And Authority
• Keys Of The Kingdom
• The Name Of Jesus
THE WORD OF GOD
One direct confrontation between Jesus and Satan came during a special period of temptation by the enemy. In this encounter, one of the major portions of our spiritual battle plan was revealed.
Before proceeding with this lesson, read the accounts of this temptation recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13.
First Satan tried to get Jesus to turn stones into bread. The power of Jesus which soon was to turn water into wine surely could have turned stones into bread. But to do so in this situation would have been acting independently of God and using His power for personal benefit.
Next Satan tried to get Jesus to cast Himself down from the top of the temple. Note that Satan said “Cast thyself down.” Satan could not cast Him down, because the power of Satan is a limited power. Satan can persuade you to sin, but he cannot cast you down. As you have learned, every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust. He is not forced, but enticed. In this temptation, Satan used God’s Word to back up his appeal, but he misapplied it (Matthew 4:6). Misapplication of God’s Word is a major strategy of Satan.
In both of the first two temptations Satan said “IF you are the Son of God,” do these things. For Jesus to have complied would have been admission that the verification of His sonship by God was inadequate. God had already spoken from Heaven confirming this relationship (Matthew 3:17). Satan always centers his attacks on your relationship with God. The final temptation was an appeal by Satan for worship. In return, Satan would deliver to Jesus all the kingdoms of the world.
In these three situations of temptation you can see the evil forces of the world, the flesh, and the Devil warring against Jesus. Jesus met the temptations of Satan with the Word of God. The Bible is a very important spiritual weapon and part of the armor of God which you will study about later. It is called “the sword of the Spirit.” The Word of God is the only divinely inspired manual of spiritual warfare. Other books are useful only as they are in harmony with God’s Word.
In meeting the temptations of Satan, Jesus used the Word of God. Jesus quoted specific Scriptures applicable to the immediate battle. He did not quote passages of chronology or history from the Old Testament. Jesus said, “It is written again…” When you use specific Scriptures, be sure they are in balance with the remainder of the Word of God. They must be viewed in their context and applied in harmony with the total revealed Word of God.
In order to use the Word of God effectively in spiritual warfare, you must know the Word of God. You must study, meditate on, and memorize it. Many defeats in life come because we do not know God’s Word:
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29)
The Word of God is our manual for warfare and reveals God’s spiritual battle plan.
DELEGATED POWER AND AUTHORITY
The second part of the battle plan is based upon the power and authority over Satan which Jesus delegated to His followers:
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. (Luke 9:1)
Authority and power are two different things. Consider the example of a policeman. He has a badge and a uniform which are symbols of his authority. His authority comes because of the position he holds with the government. But because all people do not respect that authority, the policeman also carries a weapon. The weapon is his power.
Your authority over the enemy comes through Jesus Christ and your position in Him as believers. Your power over the enemy comes through the Holy Spirit:
And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but tarry ye In the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
Like the policeman, you must have both authority and power to be effective. Believers receive authority through the new birth experience and their position in Christ, but some never go on to receive the power of the Holy Spirit, which is to be combined with the authority for effective warfare.
The power Jesus gave is directed power for specific purposes. These include:
POWER OVER THE ENEMY:
Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. (Luke 9:1)
POWER OVER SIN:
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:22-23)
POWER TO EXTEND THE GOSPEL:
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Prayer is the third part of the basic battle plan. Here is a detailed outline to assist you in studying about prayer:
THE DEFINITION OF PRAYER:
Prayer is communion with God. It takes different forms, but basically it occurs when man talks with God and God talks with man. Prayer is described as:
Calling upon the name of the Lord: Genesis 12:8
Crying unto God: Psalms 27:7; 34:6
Drawing near to God: Psalms 73:28; Hebrews 10:22
Looking up: Psalms 5:3
Lifting up the soul: Psalms 25:1
Lifting up the heart: Lamentations 3:41
Pouring out the heart: Psalms 62:8
Pouring out the soul: I Samuel 1:15
Crying to Heaven: II Chronicles 32:20
Beseeching the Lord: Exodus 32:11
Seeking God: Job 8:5
Seeking the face of the Lord: Psalms 27:8
Making supplication: Job 8:5; Jeremiah 36:7
THE PRAYER LIFE OF JESUS:
Prayer was an important strategy of the Lord Jesus:
Jesus made prayer a priority:
• He prayed any time of the day or night: Luke 6:12-13
• Prayer took priority over eating: John 4:31-32
• Prayer took priority over business: John 4:31-32
Prayer accompanied any event of importance:
• At His baptism: Luke 3:21-22
• During the first ministry tour: Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16
• Before the choice of the disciples: Luke 6:12-13
• Before and after the feeding of the 5,000: Matthew 14:19,23; Mark 6:41,46; John 6:11,14-15
• At the feeding of the 4,000: Matthew 15:36; Mark 8:6,7
• Before the confession of Peter: Luke 9:18
• Before the transfiguration: Luke 9:28,29
• At the return of the seventy: Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21
• At the grave of Lazarus: John 11:41-42
• At the blessing of the children: Matthew 19:13
• At the coming of certain Greeks: John 12:27-28
• Before the hour of His greatest anguish: Matthew 26:26-27; Mark 14:22-23; Luke 22:17- 19
• For Peter: Luke 22:32
• For the giving of the Holy Spirit: John 14:1-6
• On the road to Emmaus: Luke 24:30-31
• Prior to His ascension: Luke 24:50-53
• For His followers: John 17
• The prayer Jesus taught is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13.
KINDS OF PRAYER:
Paul calls for believers to pray always with “all prayer” (Ephesians 6:18). Another translation of the Bible reads “praying with every kind of prayer” (Goodpseed Translation). This refers to the various levels and types of prayer.
LEVELS OF PRAYER:
There are three levels of intensity in prayer: Asking, seeking, and knocking:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)
Asking is the first level of prayer. It is simply presenting a request to God and receiving an immediate answer. In order to receive, the condition is to ask:
…ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:2)
We have the powerful spiritual weapon of prayer, and yet many do not use it. They do not ask, and because of this, they do not receive.
Seeking is a deeper level of prayer. This is the level of prayer where answers are not as immediate as at the asking level. The 120 gathered in the upper room where they “continued” in prayer is an example of seeking. These men and women sought fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit and continued “seeking” until the answer came. (Acts l-2)
Knocking is a deeper level yet. It is prayer that is persistent when answers are longer in coming. t is illustrated by the parable Jesus told in Luke 11:5-10. The knocking level is the most intense evil of spiritual warfare in prayer. It is illustrated by the persistence of Daniel who continued to nock despite the fact he saw no visible results as Satan hindered the answer from God. (Daniel 10)
TYPES OF PRAYER:
There are various types of prayer illustrated in the model prayer given by the Lord (Matthew :9-13). Types of prayer include:
1. Worship and praise:
You enter into God’s presence with worship and praise:
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be hankful unto Him, and bless His Name. (Psalms 100:4)
Worship is the giving of honor and devotion. Praise is thanksgiving and an expression of gratitude not only for what God has done but for what He is. You are to worship God in spirit and in truth:
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship
God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24)
Praise and worship can be with:
Singing: Psalms 9:2,11; 40:3; Mark 14:26
Audible praise: Psalms 103:1
Shouting: Psalms 47:1
Lifting up of the hands: Psalms 63:4; 134:2; I Timothy 2:8
Clapping: Psalms 47:1
Musical instruments: Psalms 150:3-5
Standing: II Chronicles 20:19
Bowing: Psalms 95:6
Dancing: Psalms 149:3
Kneeling: Psalms 95:6
Lying down: Psalms 149:5
The warrior of God in the spirit world is shown with…
…the high praises of God…in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand. (Psalms 149:6)
This is prayer committing your life and will to God. It includes prayers of consecration and dedication.
Prayers of petition are requests. Requests must be made according to the will of God as revealed in His written Word. Petitions may be at the levels of asking, seeking, or knocking.
Supplication is another word for this type of prayer. The word supplication means “beseeching God or strongly appealing to Him in behalf of a need.”
4. Confession and repentance:
A prayer of confession is repenting and asking forgiveness for sin:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
Intercession is prayer for others. An intercessor is one who takes the place of another or pleads another’s case. The Bible records that at one time God looked on the earth and saw there was no intercessor:
And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him, and His righteousness, it sustained Him. (Isaiah 59:16)
When God saw there was no intercessor He supplied the need. He sent Jesus:
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 2:5)
…It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)
Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. (I John 2:1)
An advocate in a court of justice is a legal assistant or counselor who pleads another’s cause. Intercession in spiritual warfare is prayer to God on behalf of another person. Sometimes this intercession is made with understanding. You intercede in your own native language:
I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority… (I Timothy 2:1-2)
At other times, intercession is made by the Holy Spirit. It may be with groanings resulting from a heavy spiritual burden. It may be in an unknown tongue. It may be intercession for another or the Holy Spirit making intercession for you. When this happens, the Holy Spirit speaks through you praying directly to God and according to the will of God. You do not understand this type of intercession:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26)
This is the deepest level of intercessory prayer and the most effective in spiritual warfare.
THE MODEL PRAYER:
During the earthly ministry of Jesus His disciples once came to Him with an interesting request:
… one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray… (Luke 11:1)
The disciples did not ask how to preach or perform miracles. They did not seek lessons on how to build lasting relationships. They did not inquire regarding the wonders of physical healing.
They asked to be taught how to pray.
What created this desire? It was the visible effects of prayer in the life and ministry of Jesus.
The disciples had witnessed the powerful results of this spiritual strategy in action.
Read the model prayer and observe the various types of prayer we have discussed:
Our Father, which art in Heaven, Praise and worship
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. Commitment
Give us this day our daily bread. Petition
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Confession and Intercession
And lead us not into temptation, Petition but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the Kingdom, and the power Praise and worship
and the glory, forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
HOW TO PRAY:
Look up each of the following references in your Bible to learn how you should pray:
• Prayer is to be made to God: Psalms 5:2
• Empty repetition is forbidden, but earnest repetition is not: Matthew 6:7; Daniel 6:10; Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8
• You sin by neglecting to pray for others: I Samuel 12:23
• Pray with understanding (in a known tongue): Ephesians 6:18
• Pray in the Spirit: Romans 8:26; Jude 20
• Pray according to the will of God: I John 5:14-15
• Pray in secret: Matthew 6:6
• Quality rather than quantity is stressed. Prayer is not successful because of “much speaking”: Matthew 6:7
• Pray always: Luke 21:36; Ephesians 6:18
• Pray continually: Romans 12:12
• Pray without ceasing: I Thessalonians 5:17
• Pray to the Father in the name of Jesus: John 15:16
• With a watchful attitude: I Peter 4:7
• Pray according to the example of the model prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
• Pray with a forgiving spirit: Mark 11:25
• Pray with humility: Matthew 6:7
• Sometimes accompany prayer with fasting: Matthew 17:21
• Pray fervently: James 5:16; Colossians 4:12
• Pray with submission to God: Luke 22:42
• Use the strategies of binding and loosing in prayer: Matthew 16:19
WHAT YOU SHOULD PRAY FOR:
• The peace of Jerusalem: Psalms 122:6
• Laborers in the harvest: Matthew 9:38
• That you enter not into temptation: Luke 22:40-46
• Them that despitefully use you (your enemies): Luke 6:28
• All the saints: Ephesians 6:18
• The sick: James 5:14
• One for another (bearing each others burdens): James 5:16
• For all men, kings, and those in authority: I Timothy 2:1-4
• For daily needs: Matthew 6:11
• For wisdom: James 1:5
• For healing: James 5:14-15
• For forgiveness: Matthew 6:12
• For God’s will and Kingdom to be established: Matthew 6:10
• For relief from affliction: James 5:13
PRAY THE PROMISES:
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:3)
God answers prayer according to His promises. When you do not ask on the basis of these promises, your prayer is not answered. It is similar to how a father relates to his children. No parent commits to give his youngsters anything they want or ask for. He makes it clear that he will do certain things and not do other things. Within these limits the father answers his child’s requests.
It is the same way with God. He has given promises and they form the proper basis for prayer. Learn what God has promised and pray according to the promises of God. One way to do this is to go through the Bible and mark all the promises God has made. Use your Bible as you pray and base your prayers upon these promises.
HINDRANCES TO PRAYER:
• Sin of any kind: Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 1:15; Proverbs 28:9
• Idols in the heart: Ezekiel 14:1-3
• An unforgiving spirit: Mark 11:25; Matthew 5:23
• Selfishness, wrong motives: Proverbs 21:13; James 4:3
• Power hungry, manipulative prayers: James 4:2-3
• Wrong treatment of marriage partner: I Peter 3:7
• Self-righteousness: Luke 18:10-14
• Unbelief: James 1:6-7
• Not abiding in Christ and His Word: John 15:7
• Lack of compassion: Proverbs 21:13\
• Hypocrisy, pride, meaningless repetition: Matthew 6:5; Job 35:12-13
• Not asking according to the will of God: James 4:2-3
• Not asking in Jesus’ name: John 16:24
• Satanic demonic hindrances: Daniel 10:10-13; Ephesians 6:12
• Not seeking first the Kingdom: It is only when you seek first the Kingdom of God that you are promised the “other things”: Matthew 6:33
• God has a higher purpose in denying your request: II Corinthians 12:8-9
• When you do not know how to pray as you should, prayer is hindered. This is why it is important to let the Holy Spirit pray through you: Romans 8:26
WHEN NOT TO PRAY:
It is important to learn how to wait before the Lord in prayer for His guidance and direction before acting. But it is equally important to know when not to pray. When God calls you to action, you must act, not continue to pray.
For example, at the bitter waters of Marah when Moses cried unto the Lord, God showed him exactly what to do to sweeten the waters. There was no need to wait further on the Lord in prayer. Moses was to act upon what God had revealed. The same was true of Joshua when he prayed about the terrible defeat of Israel at Ai. God revealed there was sin among the people of Israel. He actually told Joshua…
Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned…Up, sanctify the people… (Joshua 7: portions of 10, 12, and 13)
It was not the time to pray. It was the time to act upon the direction given in prayer. Some people use prayer as an excuse to avoid involvement and acting upon what God has told them to do.
Others continue to pray when God has already answered but they did not like the answer.
Review the story of Balaam in Numbers 22. Note especially verses 18-19. Balaam had no right to go to God with the same matter for God had clearly forbidden him to have anything to do with it (see verse 12).
Fasting is the fourth part of our battle plan. It is combined with prayer to wage effective warfare in the spirit world.
THE DEFINITION OF FASTING:
Fasting, in the most simple definition, is going without food.
TYPES OF FASTS:
According to the Bible there are two types of fasts. The total fast is when you do not eat or drink at all. An example of this is found in Acts 9:9. The partial fast is when the diet is restricted. An example of this is in Daniel 10:3.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FASTING:
Fasting is a personal matter between an individual and God. It is to be done in private and not boasted about:
Moreover when ye fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance; for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:16-18)
Leaders may call a public fast and request the whole church fellowship to fast:
Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. (Joel 2:15)
THE PURPOSES OF FASTING:
There are definite spiritual purposes for fasting. It is important that you understand these, for if you fast for the wrong reasons it will be ineffective.
Study each of the following references regarding the purposes of fasting. They reveal the great power of fasting in spiritual warfare. You fast:
• To humble yourself: Psalms 35:13; 69:10
• To repent of sin: Joel 2:12
• For revelation: Daniel 9:2; 3:21-22
• To loose bands of wickedness, lift heavy burdens, set the oppressed free, and break every bondage: Isaiah 58:6
• To feed the poor, both physically and spiritually: Isaiah 58:7
• To be heard of God: II Samuel 12:16,22; Jonah 3:5,10
Fasting does not change God. It changes you. God relates to you on the basis of your relationship to Him. When you change, then the way God deals with you is affected. You do not fast to change God, because God does not change. Read the book of Jonah for an example of how this occurred in the city of Ninevah.
LENGTH OF THE FAST:
How long you fast depends upon what God speaks into your spirit. He may lead you to fast a short or lengthy time. Remember the story of Esau and Jacob? Jacob was originally making a meal for himself but denied himself in order to obtain the birthright. How much better if Esau had fasted that one meal!
KEYS OF THE KINGDOM
Jesus gave to believers the keys of the Kingdom. Those keys include the power to bind and loose and they are the fifth part of our basic battle plan:
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. (Matthew 16:19)
Jesus taught the importance of binding evil spirits before casting them out, but the principle of binding and loosing is more than casting out demons. You can bind the power of the enemy to work in your life, home, community, and church fellowship. You can loose men and women from the bondage of sin, depression, and discouragement of the enemy.
The principle of binding and loosing is an important strategy to overcome the power of the enemy. It is a key to the Kingdom of God. In every situation with which you are confronted…every problem, every challenge…there is a spiritual key. That key is in exercising the principle of binding and loosing. When you recognize what to bind and what to loose and act upon this discovery, the enemy will be defeated.
THE NAME OF JESUS
The final part of the basic battle plan is found in the name of Jesus. The Word of God is to be applied in His name, we pray, fast, and use our delegated power and authority and the keys of the Kingdom in His name:
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14)
…Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you. (John 16:23)
And these signs shall follow them that believe, in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
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. (Mark 16:17-18)
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;
Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you;
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Matthew 28:18-20)
You are to teach, baptize, cast out demons, heal the sick, and overcome every power of the enemy through the name of Jesus. It is more powerful than any other name:
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:21)
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name;
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
A WINNING STRATEGY
Jesus faced every temptation of the enemy which we face, but He overcame these temptations without sin. Because He entered the arena of spiritual warfare, He understands your battles and strengthens you:
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
Because He emerged victorious, you can also be a victor:
For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
Read the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus in Matthew 26-28; Mark 14-16; Luke 22- 24; and John 18-21. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was the greatest confrontation that ever occurred between the power of Satan and the power of God.
Through the death of Jesus, Satan thought he had destroyed God’s plan. He had killed God’s only Son. He had destroyed the King who was to reign over God’s Kingdom. But Jesus said:
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (Matthew 26:53-54)
…My Kingdom is not of this world: if my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my Kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)
…Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above…(John 19:11)
Jesus did not die because His power was less than that of the enemy. His death did not end the plan for God’s Kingdom. It was not time for His Kingdom to be visibly established in the world.
The death of Jesus actually fulfilled the plan of God. Men could now be saved from the bondage of sin and the penalty of the “second death” (eternal separation from God because of sin).
Great though it was, salvation from sin was not the only victory gained by Jesus through His death on the cross. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated all the power of the enemy:
…When He ascended up on high (was resurrected) He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
(Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all Heavens, that He might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:8-10 )
And having spoiled principalities and powers. He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)
Jesus defeated every power of the enemy, including death. He also passed judgment upon Satan:
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world (Satan) be cast out. (John 12:31)
Jesus made a way of salvation. He defeated death and the principalities and powers of the enemy. He restored to man dominion over all things. He pronounced judgment on Satan which will be fulfilled in the future.
As you have learned, the present situation is similar to conditions which have existed in certain countries in the natural world. The powers of rebel forces will be overthrown by the government. The rebel leader will be under judgment, but still at large. Resistance forces under his direction still war in the land.
Jesus has conquered Satan and set his judgment, but he is still at large and his forces of demonic powers, the flesh, and the world are still at war in the land. They attempt to control territory that is rightfully that of the Conqueror. They try to blind men to the fact Satan has been defeated and is under judgment. They try to control homes, churches, and nations.
That is where the warfare of the believer comes into focus. Jesus has defeated the enemy but Satan remains at large in the world. It is our task to open the eyes of men and women to his deception and regain control of territory that is rightfully ours. Your personal battle will continue until judgment on Satan is executed or until you go to be with Jesus through death, which ever comes first:
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.
VICTORS, NOT VICTIMS
Through Jesus, your are a victor over the enemy rather than a victim of the enemy:
And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church. Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
All things are “under the feet” of Jesus. This means He has conquered them. He is the head of the Church, and we are the body. It is stated that all things are under His feet, which means under His body, the Church. This means we are victors, not victims. You can be kept from the power of Satan. Jesus Himself prayed for us to be kept from the power of the enemy:
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word. (John 17:15,20)
You are a conqueror, not through your own power, but through the powers of a greater One:
…In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)
When the spiritual battle gets rough, just remember that the Bible assures that God’s purposes will be accomplished:
The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed so shall it stand. (Isaiah 15:24)
This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.
For the Lord of hosts hath purposed and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? (Isaiah 15:26-27)
The Lord of Hosts has a purpose, and no force of the world, flesh, demons, Hell, or Satanhimself will disannul it.
1. Write the Key Verse from the Articles Of War.
2. What is the purpose of God?
3. For what purposes did Jesus come into the world?
4. What is God’s six point battle plan for spiritual warfare?