Lesson 7 Discipleship: Spiritual Warfare
Key Scriptures: 1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:12-18, Ephesians 6:10-18, 1 John 4:1-6, James 4:1-10, 1 Corinthians 10:6-13, 2 Peter 2:4-10a and Hebrews 4:14-16
As disciples we must clearly understand that a mighty spiritual war is underway for our souls and that we are at the heart of this war. It is unlike any war that has occurred on earth. We must see Satan as a real opponent working against us, trying to defeat us. At the same time, we must see that God is equipping us to fight this war. Indeed, it is through His Power that we have the strength to fight Satan and His evil forces. In this lesson we will come to better understand the nature of our fight and how we can resist Satan’s efforts against us.
1. Using 1 Peter 5:8-9 and James 1:13-15, who is the tempter of man? How do these verses develop our understanding of Satan?
The obvious answer is Satan (devil) because Peter and James clearly describe the case of Satan as our enemy, a lion searching for someone to devour. Satan even develops schemes against us and is directly involved in tempting us. However, we also must look to our role in temptation. As we read the Genesis account of the fall from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve placed the blame on each other and Satan but did not confess their own involvement and weakness by giving in to their own lust and desires. Human attitudes have not changed because we still place the major blame on Satan.
Clearly, Satan develops situations and schemes to attract us into his grasp. He is active and prowling like a lion on the hunt! We must understand that Satan is real and he is active in the world! Without such an understanding of his nature and active, he has won the first battle.
An additional note, from James is that God does not tempt us because He does not take part in sin. Many people do place part or if not all the blame on God, yet sin is totally against His nature. We must remember that God is the provider of our way out of the grasp of Satan. God provides the power and strength to resist.
2. In Ephesians 6:10-12, Paul describes our spiritual struggles in “war-like” terms. Why does Paul use this type of language?
Since Satan is real, then we are involved in a real conflict. The terminology in this passage reflects our status, as targets of Satan and that there is a conflict raging. We are directed to act as sentinels, being alert and self-controlled because our adversary is prowling, scheming, and devouring.
The language suggests our readiness though the example of war that is a timeless image in order to impress our need for God’s power to win and His hope that the war is already won. We only need to wage our efforts in small and sometime even large battles.
You may connect these thoughts with our past lessons. The Cost of Discipleship may be serious because in a battle there will be injury and death. But remember the Hope of our Calling is the fact that the Victory has been won by Jesus’ resurrection.
3. As in any war or battle, people will ask, “can we win?” As disciples, our answer should be a loud and resounding, “Yes!” Using 1 John 4:4, James 4:7, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Peter 2:9 and Hebrews 4:15-16, what will it take to win our battle with Satan?
In order to win, we must be able to test the spirits to determine if they are from God or from Satan. Remember from 1 Peter 5: 8; we must be alert and self-controlled in our struggles against Satan. We may only recognize spirits foreign to God if we are prepared and as stated in Rom. 12:2, we must be able to test and approve the will of God in our own life. We should NOT look at these verses as our right or even mandate to attack other Christians. We should use this discernment for your battles and struggles. We must transform our life into the likeness of Jesus.
In order to win, we must be united with each other and not divided by fights and quarrels. The things that cause discord are worldly viewpoints and desires. As selfish humans, we seems to desire or demand our way and if we do not achieve our goals then we cause disharmony. If we are transformed into the likeness of Jesus, then we will submit to one another in love, desiring unity. This is the spiritual view point.
4. In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul reveals how we can win against Satan’s efforts to defeat us. What is the source of our power to resist and fight Satan?
5. Why does Paul describe our armor as the “full armor of God”?
6. Use Ephesians 6:10-18 to describe the armor of God and how each piece is important in our ability to fight Satan.
This Week’s Challenge: Where does Satan strike you most often? Examine your weakest area of life and find ways to strengthen your armor. Spend time in prayer asking God to help you with this task.
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