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Lessons on the Battlefield

• Greg Boyd

Spiritual warfare is a present reality in our war-torn world. There are principalities and powers, often unseen, which influence and distort what is true about God and His Creation. As followers of Christ, we do not need to fear these things. Rather, we are called to live in the truth of who we are in Christ, being filled with God’s Spirit and power, to come against and resist the strongholds and lies.

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Spiritual warfare is a present reality in our war-torn world. There are principalities and powers, often unseen, which influence and distort what is true about God and His Creation. As followers of Christ, we do not need to fear these things. Rather, we are called to live in the truth of who we are in Christ, being filled with God’s Spirit and power, to come against and resist the strongholds and lies.

Principalities and powers, like demons, are real. In Luke 8:26-39 Jesus comes against a demon, and casts it out of a man. Episodes like this are extreme, although they do happen. Most warfare that occurs is more subtle, taking more wisdom to confront. It is important to know that as Christians we cannot be possessed by a demon, but we can come under spiritual attack. Any area of our life that is left open, whether it is by a stronghold, lie or something that holds us in bondage may have a demonic power behind it.

This may seem scary, but we do not have to live in fear about this. Even though we live in an enemy occupied territory, we have the assurance of Christ living inside of us, and the power of Christ to help us overcome any and all attacks from the enemy (see Ephesians 1:20-23; 2:6).

How then do we engage in this spiritual war? We don’t always know if something is either a result of a spiritual attack or is a result of some other circumstance. Because of this ambiguity, we are to simply pray to God asking if there is anything in the spiritual realm that might be coming under attack in our lives. We are also to ask God for wisdom in doing what we need to do in order to break free from any strongholds, lies or forms of bondage. That may mean seeking treatment and accountability or taking other measures needed to close the opportunity for spiritual attacks in our lives.

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Topics: Presence of God, Problem of Evil, Spiritual Warfare

Sermon Series: Spiritual Warfare


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 8:26-39

    They sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!” For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places.

    Jesus asked him, “What is your name?"

    “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.

    A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

    When those tending the pigs saw what had happened, they ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus' feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people how the demon-possessed man had been cured. Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.

    The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.

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