Getting Aligned for Spiritual Warfare
June 30, 2020

Getting Aligned for Spiritual Warfare
Matthew 12:29
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If I were to say what is the purpose of tonight’s message, it would be our need to get aligned under God’s authority so that we can recover God’s promises that we lost when we left that authority due to compromise, and the schemes of the enemy.

Mr. Bailey was a successful businessman who after parking his car had it bumped into by the car of a nicely dressed man. Although there was barely a scratch, the man insisted on making amends through paying for damages as well as two tickets to a local play.

After giving the gentleman his address, Mr. Baily didn’t really think of it again until a couple of weeks later when two tickets arrived to a local play, with specific seating up front, plus a gift certificate for two at a nice supper club.

It was a great evening out for Baily and his wife, that is, until they got home to find that they had been duped by this slick thief who completely emptied their house. They got suckered punched because they didn’t understand the schemes of this thief.

In much the same way Christians are ignorant of Satan’s schemes to move us out from under God’s authority, thus allowing him to move in and steal our blessings and promises.

You see, when we teak ourselves out from under God’s authority through our willful disobedience to God’s word, and compromise, Satan is able to bind us in the chains and prisons of his own making. However, even though we realize that this more than likely describes us, what we need to realize is that even though Satan has stolen these promises and blessings, they don’t belong to him, but rather they’re ours promised by none other than the Lord God Himself, so this makes them ours to recover. (We’ll look at this as we end our time together.)

Satan’s main goal, according to Jesus, is to steal, kill, and destroy, while Jesus’s goal for our lives is the exact opposite.

Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”(John 10:10 NKJV)

• To steal means that we once owned it, but now it has been taken away and no longer in our lives.
• To kill means that it once was alive and flourishing, but now it is dead.
• To destroy means that what was once strong and powerful has now been nullified.

The Apostle Peter describes Satan as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, so we need to be vigilant and sober minded in how we live.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NKJV)

And Paul tells Timothy in his second letter that Satan has set a trap to hold us captive to do his will, so we need to come to our senses now so we can escape.

Satan isn’t some made up personification of evil that he would like for us to believe, nor is he some little guy in a red suit carrying a pitchfork with two horns and a tail. He is very real and inhabits the spiritual realm that actively and violently engages this physical world.

Paul tells us to be actively on our guard, therefore and to understand the true nature of our warfare.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV)

Note that it doesn’t say that our warfare is against others. You see, this is part of Satan’s scheme to get us fighting against one another rather than against him and his spiritual forces, because they want to break up our unity and oneness in the Lord.

Jesus gives reference to this when the religious leaders accused Him of doing miracles in and through Satan. Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. You see, our real battle is against what’s behind the division and disunity, and what is driving the hatred, bitterness, slander, gossip, and all the rest, which is no one less than Satan and his henchmen.

Jesus understood this battle and gives us this piece of advice when fighting it, and He did so through Peter who tried to stop Jesus from God’s plan and purpose by telling him not to go to Jerusalem.

Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23 NKJV)

Notice that Jesus wasn’t addressing Peter, but rather Satan, who was behind what Peter had said. Later Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat, but Jesus, counter Satan’s request saying how he is praying for him.

And so, when we align ourselves with the Lord, we will be better able to fight this spiritual battle we are in, and that is because we’ll be able to bind up Satan and prevent his schemes from materializing as we plunder his goods and take back what he has stolen, revive what he has killed, and restore what he as destroyed.

Read Matthew 12:22-30

Before we discuss this aspect of binding Satan, it might be beneficial to look at what precedes this passage to get some context.

Jesus at this time is at odds with the religious leaders and their adherence to the Law of Moses that had little to do with the heart of why God gave that law to begin with.

Before we look at this in Matthew 12, Jesus later deals with this whole subject of neglecting the heart of the Law.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.” (Matthew 23:23 NKJV)

Jesus wasn’t saying that the Law was wrong, nor that we shouldn’t keep it, but rather that they were missing the whole reason and purpose behind it.

And we see this in what precedes Jesus’s statement about binding Satan in Matthew 12. And this was mainly in their interpretation, and their additional requirements surrounding the one law of keeping the Sabbath Day holy.

(It has been noted that there are somewhere around 300 new laws surrounding this one law on how someone is to keep the Sabbath Day holy.)

In Matthew 12:1-8, it centered upon working on the Sabbath in the sense of Jesus’s disciples picking grain to eat. Jesus reminded them of how David had entered into the temple and was given the showbread to eat, which wasn’t right according to the law, or how the priest are able to break this law in the temple for their work and were held blameless. And then he made this incredible statement.

“If you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” (Matthew 12:7 NKJV)

And then Jesus said that He was no one less than the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8).

Afterwards Jesus entered the synagogue where he healed a man with a withered hand. When the religious leaders tried to trap Him through His doing a work of healing, Jesus asked that since they thought is was okay to rescue a sheep that had fallen into a pit, then why wasn’t it okay to heal a man? Which was more important, a sheep or a man (Matthew 12:9-13)?

As the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus understood this Law of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and how mercy was at the heart of the law, not religious traditions and adherence.

And this is now where we pick up the story in the text we just read.

Later, a man who was not only demon possessed, but blind and mute to boot was brought to Jesus, and Jesus healed him. Upon seeing this, and still stinging from his prior rebukes, instead of giving God the glory for these healings, the religious leaders accused Jesus of casting out Satan by Satan.

Jesus then countered with a universal truth that a kingdom divided cannot stand. And if Satan did cast himself out, then his kingdom is divided and also cannot stand. And then Jesus says that since it was in and through the Holy Spirit that these demons have been cast out, then God’s kingdom has come upon them.

You see, wherever Jesus is preached, and whenever the acts of God are being manifest through the power of the Holy Spirit to take back what Satan has stolen, killed, and destroyed, then the kingdom of God is truly plundering Satan’s house.

Let’s look at the healing for moment, and hopefully we can get the picture. The man was demon possess, blind and mute. And through Jesus’s healing, he was able to set free, released, and his eyes opened to Satan’s trap.

And it is when we recognize who really possess the power, that is, Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, who just so happens to reside within all of those who believe, then we are able to enter into this battle and take back what Satan has stolen for the Kingdom of God.

This idea of binding to recover what has been lost, and loose what has been captured is seen a little bit later in what Jesus said in Matthew 18:18.

“Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18 NKJV)

To bind something means to tie up and forbid. To loose is to set something free. And this is what Jesus’s ministry was all about, binding Satan and setting free what Satan has bound, mainly people’s lives. This is seen in what the Apostle Peter said about Jesus.

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38 NKJV)

And today it is no different. Jesus is all about binding Satan through us, in order to set the captives free, and to recover what has been lost, and that to an even greater degree than it ever was before.

When I think about this, the story of Joni Erickson Tada comes to mind. She was left as a quadriplegic after a tragic diving accident. Confined to a wheelchair unable to use her hands and feet, God was able to use her to an even greater degree than if she had use of her hands and feet.

She became an incredible artist by painting with a brush between her teeth. She authored 27 books, was a columnist for Moody Monthly Magazine, became an internationally known singer, hosted a radio show, and founded Joni and Friends, an international ministry for the disabled.

Satan did plunder Joni’s life after the accident, but it safe to say that Jesus set her free and loosed her with incredible gifts that have ministered to hundreds of thousands over the years.

Because Jesus, through His death and resurrection, has defeated and bound Satan, we who have come to faith in Jesus have been given that same power, because through our faith we are now to bind Satan as well, in and through Jesus and the authority He has bestowed upon us.

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19 NKJV)

This word, “authority,” means that Jesus has given to us not only the right to act, but has delegated the authority to act. Therefore, all of God’s power and authority is behind us when we act on behalf of God’s kingdom and not our own.

And so the mission and ministry of the church is to recue people from their bondages and break the dominion of the Kingdom of Darkness over their lives. It is to recover by the power of the Holy Spirit all that has been stolen, killed, and destroyed.

There is a beautiful illustration of this in the Old Testament and the life of David. It is probably one of my favorites.

David was running for his life from King Saul, when he and his men finally ended up in the territory of the Philistines, actually with the exact same Philistines that David defeated when he killed Goliath.

The Philistine was so glad to have David as a ally that he gave to he and his men a city by the name of Ziglag. After a while, all the Philistines got together and were going to war against Israel. David was invited to join, but the other Philistine lord’s were leery of David and his men thinking that in the heat of battle they would turn on them. So they sent David back.

David’s compromise almost saw him fighting against his own people. But his actions would reap even further more hurtful consequences, as Satan was out to steal, kill, and destroy David any way he could.

His first way was to have David fight his own people, and thus wreck God’s plan for David to be Israel’s king, but Satan’s plan didn’t succeed, God graciously intervened. But please hear this, Satan always has a plan B, and sometimes C, D, and E.

Satan backup plan was to steal everything from David and his men, destroy any hope of restoration, and have David killed as a result.

When they returned to Ziglag, they found that it had been raided, with all of their possessions and family taken captive, stolen by the Amalekites. And to top it off, they burned Ziglag to the ground. Nothing was left.

They were now in intense mourning, where it says that they wept and wept until they had no more tears left to weep. You could say that they were dry weeping.

But that’s not all, David’s men began to blame David for their current lot in life and were now talking of killing him.

But instead of fearing for his life, David knew the Lord God, and so it says that David strengthened himself, that is, he encouraged himself in the Lord. He then inquired of the Lord as to what to do next, and the Lord said, “Pursue,” and if he did, then he would overtake them and recover everything that had been taken, and then some.

In fact, he used the extra to send to the elders of Judah as a present, thus cementing their loyalty.

Like David and his men we can easily mourn the promises and blessings of God that Satan and his demons have taken from us, either by way of theft, death, or destroyed because of our own compromises and sin.

But remember, Satan doesn’t own them, they are ours, and we to can recover it all back, and then some. What we need to do is follow David’s example, that is, we need to seek out the Lord God, read His word and pray, and ask how we can go about recovering what has been taken, remember, all authority has been given to us over the enemy, that is, Satan.

And then, we need to obey God’s word and move forward. Only then will be bind Satan and recover what he has either stolen, killed, or destroyed.

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