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Satan Defeated and Disarmed
In our last session we saw that through the cross Jesus not merely defeated Satan but he also stripped him of his weapons and took away his spoils. The cross represents Satan’s total, eternal, irreversible defeat. We began to look in the passage in Colossians 2 where Paul lays out the basis for this victory that Jesus won. I’d like to go back there and look at it more fully. Colossians 2:13–15. I pointed out that the opening phrase reminds us of the words of Paul in Ephesians 2:1–2.
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he [that’s God the Father] made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses [or acts of disobedience]; having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and he’s taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. [verse 15] Having disarmed principalities and powers [that’s Satan’s kingdom], he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
And at the end of the last session I gave you a little picture of a Roman triumph to illustrate what Paul is expressing there; that Jesus not merely won the victory but he also celebrated the triumph and he invites us to sit with him in the chariot.
Now this has a doctrinal basis which I think few people see clearly. But it’s very important that we do see it clearly, otherwise we will not have the faith to administer the victory that Jesus has won for us in our own lives. So I’m going to try to explain what Paul is saying precisely in these verses in Colossians.
First of all, he says that we have been made alive by God the Father together with Jesus Christ. And you remember that’s what Paul said also in Ephesians 2, “he made us alive with him, he resurrected us with him, and he enthroned us with him.”
Then he says two things which are the essence of what I’m trying to explain. At the end of verse 13 he says, “having forgiven you all trespasses,” all your previous acts of disobedience. And in verse 14 he says, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
In those words Paul explains a double provision that God made through the sacrifice of Jesus. First of all, God made total provision for the past and that’s stated at the end of verse 14, “having forgiven us all our previous acts of disobedience.” Every single act of disobedience that we had ever committed in our lives up to the time of trusting Jesus and his sacrifice, God made provision for its total forgiveness through the death of Jesus. You remember what we said? “He was punished that we might be forgiven.” He took our guilt and he paid the total penalty.
This is stated in a good many different places but I’d like to look with you in Acts 13, but don’t lose Colossians 2, we’ll be back there again! Acts 13:38–39. This is part of a sermon that Paul preached in a synagogue in Asia Minor explaining what Jesus is and what he had done. Then he says in these verses:
“Therefore let it be known to you brethren, that through this man [that’s Jesus] is preached to you the forgiveness of sins: and by him everyone who believes is justified [or acquitted] from all things from which you could not be justified [or acquitted] by the law of Moses.”
In other words, through Jesus God offers total forgiveness of every single past wrongful deed.
He says even things that could not be forgiven under the law of Moses. For instance, under the law of Moses there was no forgiveness of adultery. The mandatory penalty was death and for many other such things. But Paul says through Jesus God has made provision to forgive every kind of sinful act that we have ever committed. Now that’s wonderful news, that’s exciting. And we need to be very emphatic about one little word there which is the word all. It’s a short word but important. We need to be absolutely sure that we know that all the bad things we ever did before we came to Jesus have been totally forgiven.
Now the devil will fight you on that issue. I see some of you are nodding your heads. He’ll remind you of all sorts of things you did and suggest to you that God forgave most of those things but there’s one or two things you really can’t expect God to forgive. That’s a lie. The scripture says we can be forgiven of all things for which we could not be forgiven through the law of Moses. Thank God we’re not under the law of Moses!
So that’s provision for the past. The slate is clean. The record of all your evil deeds recorded on God’s heavenly tape recorder has been blotted out with his bulk eraser. There’s just not a single record left of any evil that you did from the past.
That’s wonderful but it’s not sufficient because we still face the problem of having to go on living. You probably heard about the two Methodist brothers, one was a preacher and the other was an expert marksman. So the Methodist brother went around preaching the gospel like a good, fiery, old-time Methodist. And he would call the sinners forward and tell them about salvation and forgiveness, lead them in a prayer and minister to them, and then make absolutely sure that they knew they were forgiven. Then the other brother stepped up and shot them. That way they had no backsliders!
Of course we don’t take that too seriously but, I mean, the problem is that even when the past is forgiven we still have got to face the future. Isn’t that right? So what’s God’s provision for the future? That’s in verse 14.
Now we’re going back to Colossians 2, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” In very simple language, what was God dealing with there? The law. Praise God. There are two different ways of translating that, you can take your choice or you can have both if you like. One is “he erased the certificate of death.” I think that’s the NASV, I’m not sure. The NIV says “he erased the written code with its requirements.” It comes to the same thing because it’s the written legal code that made us debtors. And every time Jewish people would come to God and seek his presence, Satan would be there pointing to the law: “You’ve no right of access, you broke this, you broke this, you broke that.” If, for a few moments, they might get clear, Satan would still be there saying, “But it won’t be long before you break another commandment. You have no right of access to God.” It really doesn’t apply to Gentiles, but let’s put ourselves in the picture. They, or we, have built up a monstrous debt of things that we ought to have done that the law required that we didn’t do and things that the law forbade that we have done.
As long as our righteousness depended on obeying the law, or any law, we were in trouble. Understand? We could walk away from the cross but there would be this voice following us, “Mind out, now, you did that, that’s forbidden. You shouldn’t have done it, you’ve lost your righteousness.” This is very, very vivid, it’s dealt with in great detail in the New Testament. I find the majority of Christians that I meet have never really faced this issue and dealt with it.
God’s provision for the future is that we don’t have to achieve righteousness with God by observing a law. That’s a breathtaking statement.
I was preaching somewhere a little while ago and I said to the people, I said it casually, “Of course, Christianity isn’t a set of rules.” I think some of them would have been less shocked if I said there is no God. I mean, for me it was so obvious that I didn’t even think it would be controversial. I realized that the majority of Christians still think of Christianity as a set of rules you have to keep, it’s just a different set of rules. That’s not what it is.
Let’s look into this. First of all, let’s look at some of the many scriptures in the New Testament which make it very clear that we don’t achieve righteousness with God by keeping any law. Let’s start with Romans, and I’ve given you only a few of the many scriptures in Romans. Romans 6:14. This is written, of course, to believers in Jesus.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
That’s a breathtaking statement. It’s frightening. A lot of people shy away from it. The implications are very surprising. You are not under law but under grace. You cannot be under both. If you’re under law you’re not under grace. If you’re under grace you’re not under law. But you cannot be under both at the same time.
Then Paul says sin will not have dominion over you because you are not under the law. The implication is if you were under the law, sin would have dominion over you. That’s the truth of the matter. It’s shocking but it’s true. I can see some of you are looking so puzzled you’re going to have to spend real time with this.
Listen, you’ve got several fingers, keep one in Romans because we’ll be back, keep one in Colossians and let me really shock you with a statement. Turn to 1Corinthians 15:56.
“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.”
Did you notice that? That’s true. Every time we try to achieve righteousness by keeping the law, sin reasserts its dominion over us. To put it in very simple terms, it’s because we begin to rely on our own fleshly abilities. Every time we do that we’re taken captive. It is impossible for those who are in the flesh to please God. It’s not difficult, it’s impossible. Every time we go back to the law we revive the old rebel and he causes us to disobey. That’s an extra scripture you might want to write in. As a matter of fact, I didn’t put it in because I thought it would be too shocking.
Romans 7:5–6. I’ve taught people many times, if you read the Bible without being surprised, you’ve never heard what the Bible is saying. It is a surprising book. In fact, it is a shocking book. Romans 7:5–6:
“For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sin, which were aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.”
You’ll notice the passions of sins which were aroused by the law. Verse 6:
“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by; so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Notice what we’ve been delivered from? The law. Through a death. Through whose death? The death of Jesus because his death was my death. You see, the last thing the law can do to you is put you to death. That’s its ultimate. And once you’ve been put to death you’re not under the law any longer. Death is the only way of escape from the law when you come under it.
Jesus was put to death for the sins of those under the law. His death was our death. Therefore, through his death we have been delivered from the obligations of the law. There was no other way out. God has primarily in mind, of course, the Jewish people because he put them under the law. The Gentiles are in a different category but the same principles apply.
So we have been delivered from the law through the death of Jesus. Our old man died. See how we have to keep going back to this? Our old man, let’s pretend we’re all Jewish, was married to the law. As long as our old man was alive, we couldn’t marry anybody else without being adulterers. When our old man died we were free to marry another. Whom did we marry then? Jesus, the one risen from the dead.
This is so interesting I think we should go back one verse in Romans 7. We have to read the first four verses. I’m sorry, I try to get past without it but... Are you there with me?
“Do you not know, brethren, for I speak to those who know the law, that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?”
Notice that. Once a person is dead, the law has no more dominion over him.
“For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives...”
Let me point out that that does not apply to divorce for adultery. This is quite outside the scope but it’s such an important issue, because by the law the adulterer was put to death. So you can’t apply part of the law and not the rest of it. If, for instance, I were an Israelite and my wife committed adultery, there were no options. The death penalty was mandatory. Once she was dead, I was free. So a lot of Christians misquote this. They say there’s no room for divorce because a man is bound by the law as long as his partner lives. The same law puts the person who commits adultery to death!
If you want further insight on that you can find it in our book, God is a Matchmaker. There’s a chapter on divorce. In my opinion, divorcees are the Cinderellas of the Christians church. They’ve had a very raw deal, many of them. They’ve been treated by standards that are not scriptural. I can’t go into that but I’m just safeguarding myself because of this statement here.
So we’re going to verse 3:
“So if while her husband lives, she marries another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she married another man.”
Death is the solution to this problem. Now notice there’s a therefore. This is the application:
Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the Body of Christ...”
When Christ died, he died for the transgressions of those who had broken the law. His death has reckoned our death. Therefore, we have become dead to the law. See what he is saying? I hope you do.
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the Body of Christ; that you may be married to another [without becoming adulteresses], to him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.”
When we were in the flesh, under the law, we produced the works of the flesh. Through the death of Jesus we’ve been delivered from the law and from the flesh and we are free now to be married to the resurrected Christ and to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. Do you understand that? The purpose of marriage is fruit. The fruit that we bear depends on whom we’re married to.
If we were Israelites, we were married to the law. So there was no way out but death. But the mercy of God is the death took place when Jesus died. Our old man was crucified. Now the new man is free to be married to the resurrected Christ.
Anyhow, what I’m emphasizing right now is we were delivered from the law. I think I’d like you to look at that verse. Verse 6 of Romans 7. I’d like you to say that first phrase with me. I’ll say it once then you repeat it with me. “But now we have been delivered from the law.” Some of you, if you can grasp that, it’s going to change the way you live from now on.
You see, in my opinion, the Christian church lives in a kind of twilight halfway between law and grace. They don’t know which is which and sometimes they’re under one and sometimes they’re under the other.
Going on with scriptures. Romans 10:4.
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believes.”
It doesn’t say the law in the Greek, it says law, which is an important difference. “Christ is the end of law for righteousness to every one who believes.” Everyone who believes. Are you a believer? Then Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish or Gentile, Catholic or Protestant. If you are a believer in Jesus, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. Now Paul is marvelously exact. He doesn’t say Christ is the end of the law as part of the word of God, because that endures forever. He doesn’t say Christ is the end of the law as part of Israel’s history, because that is still true. He doesn’t say Christ is the end of the law as a subject for meditation, because it’s still a fruitful subject for meditation. But, he says, Christ is the end of the law for righteousness. As a means of achieving righteousness with God, the death of Christ set the law aside forever.
Let’s turn to Ephesians 2:14.
“For he himself [that’s Jesus] is our peace, who has made both one [both is Jew and Gentile], and has broken down the middle wall of division between us.”
That refers to a wall in the temple that stood in the time of Jesus and of Paul beyond which Gentiles were not permitted to go. And there was a notice on the wall both in Latin and in Greek, the two Gentile languages, warning any Gentile that if he proceeded further he would be put to death. That’s what Paul calls the middle wall of division. There was a division between Jews and Gentiles made by the law. The law divided Jews from Gentiles.
But Jesus, through his death, has broken down that wall of division and now there is no notice that says to Gentiles, “You can’t go any further.” Thank God because I’m a Gentile.
Now how did he do it? Are you with me in Ephesians 2:15?
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, that is the law of commandments contained in ordinances...”
Notice it’s the total law. Some people say he didn’t abolish the Ten Commandments, but it says the law of commandments contained in ordinances.
“...so as to create in himself one new man from the two, thus making peace; and that he might reconcile them both [Jew and Gentile] to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.”
Now if you analyze those verses you’ll see the law created a double enmity. It created enmity between Jew and Gentile because it set limits beyond which Gentiles didn’t have access to God. It created other forms of enmity which historically, if you consider the history of the Jewish people, one main cause of anti-Semitism has been their observance of the law. That’s one enmity that was terminated by the cross. That was the horizontal enmity. But praise God there was another enmity which was the vertical enmity because the law created enmity between God and man. Man broke the law and forfeited the favor of God. But by his death on the cross Jesus abolished both enmities and he made it possible for man to be reconciled with God and Jew to be reconciled with Gentile, black to be reconciled with white and Catholic to be reconciled with Protestant. He made possible reconciliation vertically and horizontally through the abolishing of the law.
I want you to see those words again. It’s a strange thing, but this frightens people. It’s like, “as long as I can hold on to a law somewhere, I’ve got security. I may not keep it but at least it’s there, something to hold on to.” We have to be pried loose from that because we cannot really experience the grace and liberty of God until we have faced this issue.
So I’m going to say it again, verse 15:
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, that is the law of commandments, contained in ordinances...”
Can I borrow that NIV for a moment? Thank you, you’d think I’d have enough sense to bring my own! I’ll give it back to you in just a minute. The NIV translation, if I remember rightly, is very vivid.
“By abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations, his purpose was to create in himself one new man.”
I think that’s particularly vivid. “By abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.” This is a subject that I’ve had to deal with at length because of my involvement with the Jewish people. I realize that for most of you it’s a new subject. It’s extraordinary because there’s a great deal of teaching in the New Testament on this subject. And yet, honestly to say the truth, I don’t know of any other preacher that deals with this issue. As I view it, the result in the church is confusion. The majority of Christians don’t know whether they’re under law or under grace.
We could read a lot of other verses, but let’s go back to Colossians 2 now. Verse 14.
God, through the death of Jesus, wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us, and he’s taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
What did God nail to the cross? The law, that’s right. How many of us have sung the hymn that says “my sins are nailed to the cross”? That may be true but it’s not what Paul is saying. The law has to be taken out of the way for us to have free, unended access to God and to live in his continuing favor.
Verse 15 says, “having disarmed principalities and powers.”
Now we come to the point that we’ve been working towards: How did God strip Satan of his weapons? What is Satan’s main weapon in one word? Guilt. You notice that the 8th chapter of Romans which is in my opinion the great chapter about the Spirit-led, Spirit-controlled, Spirit-filled life, there’s a doorway? Have you ever noticed the doorway to Romans 8? It’s verse 1.
“There is therefore now no condemnation...”
As long as you were under condemnation you cannot live in Romans 8. Satan is happy to keep us feeling condemned and a little bit unworthy and not quite sure if we’ll make it. That’s not piety. Do you know what that is? It’s unbelief.
So God had to deal with guilt and he did it this way. First off he made possible the forgiveness of all our past sinful acts, blotted out in one sweeping gesture. That’s wonderful. Secondly, he set us free from the obligation to achieve righteousness by keeping the law. Okay? Because no one has ever succeeded in doing it. Paul says in Romans 3, “By the works of the law, no flesh shall be justified in God’s sight.” So as long as we had to keep the law we were always going to be under condemnation. By this double provision God has first of all freed us from the guilt of the past and then he’s freed us from the guilt of having to live by the law.
I’m amused when I see your faces, I don’t think you know what your faces are saying! You are shocked. If what I say is not scriptural, don’t believe it.
I’m not saying we don’t have to keep laws, understand that. What I’m saying is we’re not made righteous by keeping laws. That’s not the way we achieve righteousness with God.
How do we achieve righteousness with God? By what? Faith. What is counted to us for righteousness? Faith. Not the works of the law.
Turn to Romans 4 beginning with verse 3. Paul is building his teaching on the example of Abraham. The key verse is Genesis 15:6 where it says, “Abraham believed God and it was counted for him for righteousness.” Then Paul comments on that.
“Now to him that works the wages are not counted as grace, but of debts. But to him who does not work, but believes on him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”
What’s the first thing you have to do to be justified by faith? The first thing you have to do is stop doing anything. “To him who does not work.” Do not try to achieve it by your own efforts. When you cease trying, then you’re open to realize that your faith has been reckoned to you as righteousness.
Evangelicals quote that scripture but it seems to me in most cases they don’t really know what it means. It means that as long as I continue sincerely believing in Jesus as my sacrifice and my Savior, that faith of mine is reckoned to me as righteousness—even when I do the wrong thing. Isn’t that amazing? That starts things.
If you analyze the story of Abraham in Genesis 15, his faith was counted to him as righteousness. After that he did a lot of things that he wouldn’t have done. He went and had a son by his maidservant Hagar, Ishmael, who has been a source of problems for Abraham and his descendants for 4,000 years. And then he allowed his wife Sarah to be taken into a Gentile harem and could have lost her if God hadn’t intervened. Abraham did things he ought not have done. But all the time his faith was being reckoned to him as righteousness. You say that’s too easy. Well, try! See how easy it is!
But you say, “I’ll do it the other way.” You just keep the law. Remember, when you keep the law you have to keep the whole law all the time or else you’re under a curse. “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all the works of this law to do them.” So you need to decide whether you’re going to choose the certainty of being under a curse or the risk of living by faith. I’ll take the risk.
Brothers and sisters, if you could only understand this, it’s so exciting! Our faith is counted to us for righteousness all the time, 24 hours of the day, seven days of the week—even when we do the wrong thing!
I’m always impressed by the dialogue between Jesus and Peter at the last supper. Jesus said to Peter, “Peter, you’re going to deny me three times.” Peter said, “Oh, no I’m not.” Jesus said, “Yes, you are. Before the cock crows you’re going to deny me three times.” Then he said, “But I’ve prayed for you.” Did you ever stop to consider what he prayed? He didn’t say, “I prayed for you that you won’t deny me.” That was inevitable, Peter being who he was and the situation being what it was and the presence of evil being so powerful. What did Jesus pray? “I’ve prayed for you that your faith will not fail.” Even if you do that terrible thing of denying me three times, Peter, it’ll be all right—if your faith doesn’t fail. Just hold on to your faith. That’s your safety. I’m sure that that really saved Peter because I think if he didn’t remember those words of the Lord he would have given up.
That’s true of every one of us. Anybody here who’s never made a mistake or done the wrong thing as a Christian, just raise your hand. I don’t see any hands raised. But did you realize that your faith was being reckoned to you as righteousness all the time? You didn’t need to be condemned.
Now if you deliberately do the wrong thing, if you deliberately reject your faith, that’s another matter. We’re talking about people who are sincerely trying to please God and do his will. God knows we won’t make it all the time. I’m not preaching a low standard of righteousness, I believe Jesus is the standard of righteousness. But, I have to be honest, we don’t always get there. Is that right? But we don’t need to be condemned. Don’t let the devil gain the victory. Our faith is being counted to us as righteousness. Amen. We have passed out from under the requirements of the law, or any law, to achieve righteousness.
I must carefully guard that doesn’t mean to say we don’t have to observe laws. We do. We have to observe the law of the land, we have to observe the speed limit. Listen to that one for a moment! There’s lots of things we have to do. If you’re a member of this particular group here, there are rules that you have to keep if you’re going to be a member. Otherwise you have no right to be a member. I have an idea there’s a rule about what time you have to go to bed at night. And you’re not free to disturb other people. You have to observe those rules. But you don’t achieve righteousness by observing those rules. If you’ve been made righteous you’ll observe the rules. That’s a pretty good way of finding out if you’ve been made righteous!
Now I’m not saying if you break one or two rules, if you don’t do it deliberately and in rebellion, your faith will be counted to you as righteousness. But whatever you do, hold on to your faith. Don’t let it go. It’s your life.
You see what I’ve got to say is, what I’ve been aiming at is by the death of Jesus on the cross, God has stripped Satan of his weapon against us which is guilt. As long as he can keep us feeling guilty we are no match for him. The way that God did it was by this double provision. First of all, total forgiveness of all past sinful acts. Secondly, release from the requirement of achieving righteousness by observing a law. Our faith is counted to us for righteousness.
I move so much among Christians I find very few Christians that are really happy about that. They’re not quite sure about it. Frankly, I don’t meet too many happy Christians. We tell people we’ve got the answer to the world’s problems and we’re so burdened with our problems that the world says if that’s the answer, I’m not interested! Is that right? It’s not altogether true but there’s truth in it.
Now the third statement, and this is tremendous but we’re not going to spend a lot of time on it, not merely has God taken away Satan’s weapons but he has given us weapons to defeat Satan with. I think I have to say that again because it’s startling. Not merely has God stripped Satan of all his armor but he’s given us the weapons with which to defeat Satan. And he’s expecting us to do it.
Let’s look at a few scriptures quickly before this session closes. 2Corinthians 10:3–5. This is one of the scriptures I know by heart but I’ll read it anyhow.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds; casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Paul is saying there we live in bodies of flesh, we live in a material world and we are at war. But our war is not in the realm of the flesh or of the material, our war is in a spiritual realm. And because we have war in a spiritual realm we need the appropriate weapons. Paul says they’re not carnal but what by implication? What’s the opposite of carnal? Spiritual. So God has provided us with spiritual weapons. With whom are we at war? Satan. It’s important to remember that because so many Christians spend most of their time at war with their fellow Christians. That’s not our war. Our war is with the kingdom of Satan.
And we have appropriate weapons, spiritual weapons. I have a lot of teaching on this subject and I want to say I am not free to go into it. I just want to point out that God has given us the appropriate weapons.
To do what? Verse 4, to pull down strongholds or to pull down fortresses. Whose fortresses? Satan’s. We can demolish Satan’s fortresses. Verse 5, casting down arguments [another version says reasonings or speculations or imaginations] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
If you look at the words I’ve used there and which Paul uses, you have arguments, reasonings, speculations, imaginations, thoughts and knowledge. They all belong to one realm which is the realm of the mind. The warfare is in the realm of the mind. I think most of you would agree that at some time since you’ve believed in Jesus you’ve had the most tremendous mental conflict. That’s not unnatural. That’s where the war is. We need to see it.
God has given us the weapons to destroy the fortresses that Satan has built in people’s minds. What was the aim of Satan’s fortresses? To prevent people believing in Jesus and receiving the truth of the word of God. We deal with many kinds of people with whom it’s almost a waste of time to present the truth until you’ve dealt with the fortress. I don’t want to be in any way derogatory of anybody but you can deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses but they just don’t hear what you say. Their minds are pre-programmed, everything you say they’ve got a pre-programmed answer. That’s a fortress. You deal with Moslems, that’s one of the strongest fortresses in human minds. And the real strength of that fortress is God doesn’t have a son. God has no wife so he can’t have a son, he doesn’t need a son. They can believe in Jesus even as Messiah, but a son of God—never. Until you’ve dealt with them you have no idea of the vehemence of their prejudice against that. You deal with Jewish people, there’s a fortress there. “If I believe in Jesus, I can’t be a Jew any longer.” That, in my opinion, is the number one obstacle at the present time for Jewish people to receive their Messiah. What are all those? Fortresses. Who’s got the weapons? We have. Satan built the fortresses, we have the weapons to demolish his fortresses.
You see what our assignment is? It’s staggering. Our assignment is to use our spiritual weapons, liberate the minds of men and women from the fortresses and the strongholds of Satan and bring them into captivity to the obedience of Christ. What an astonishing assignment! But without an understanding of the cross and what was accomplished through the cross we’ll never be able to carry out that assignment.
Let me give you a little picture of the church at war in Revelation 12:7–11. There are different ways of interpreting Revelation and it’s a pretty profound subject to go into, but some people see in Revelation predictions that were fulfilled—if you’re a Roman Catholic, you believe they were fulfilled by the overthrow of the pagan Roman Empire. If you’re a good Protestant, you believe they were fulfilled by the overthrow of the Papal Roman Empire! In other words, whichever way you view history, it’s already happened.
I have studied a little of those interpretations, I just have two objections. Number one, they don’t agree with the facts of history. Number two, they don’t agree with the statements of scripture. That’s my personal evaluation. I am driven to the conclusion that most of the predictions in the book of Revelation have not yet been fulfilled. This is important because many times you read statements in the past tense as we will be in a moment. But what the past tense is is what John saw. He saw this, he saw that, he saw things enacted before his eyes. But though what he saw was past, in my opinion the fulfillment is future.
Now we’re going to look at something. If you interpret it that way it agrees with everything I’ve been saying. Revelation 12, beginning at verse 7.
“And war broke out in heaven...”
Now if there’s war in heaven there’s got to be more than God and his angels there. Isn’t that right. I mean, there couldn’t be war with just God and his angels. So that proves there are some other forces in heaven besides God and his angels. I believe the kingdom of Satan.
“War broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail; nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.”
Notice if this is future, what does it tell us about their present place? It’s in heaven. I’m putting the “if” there, you’re free to make your choice.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out to the earth [from where? from heaven], and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ have come [where? in heaven]: for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before God day and night, has been cast down.”
Who is the accuser of the brethren? Satan. Now if this is really still in the future, what does it tell us about what Satan is doing right now? What is he doing? He’s accusing us. Why is he accusing us? What does he want to make us feel? Guilty. That’s his number one weapon.
Now, notice who overcame him and how. Verse 11:
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives to the death.”
If you look at the content, “they” are the believers on earth. The people speaking are the angels in heaven. So it says they, the believers on earth, overcame him. Who is him? Satan. You see, there is direct head-on conflict between us as believers and Satan. We overcome him. We are in direct conflict with Satan which is the statement of the New Testament all through.
Now, what weapons did they use? Carnal weapons, bombs, planes, tanks? No, they used spiritual weapons. What were their spiritual weapons? The blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.
Now the Prince interpretation of this, which is worth more money than you can ever pay for it, but I make no charge! It’s “we overcome Satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us.” That’s our number one weapon against guilt. I’ll say it again. “We overcome Satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us.” I think it would be good if you would just join with me, if you can do so in faith, believing me and trusting me, because it works. Let’s make that our closing statement. I’ll say it and you say it after me. I’ll say it phrase by phrase.
“We overcome Satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us.” Amen.