Spiritual Warfare – Part 18
If you haven’t yet read Part one of this study, please click here.
IDENTIFYING THE ENEMY
The only major part of Spiritual Warfare that we haven’t looked at so far, is the enemy himself, and the necessity to identify his work in our daily experiences. So here in these final studies, we will look at some of the guidelines The Bible gives us for identifying this enemy.
Satan is a lier and deceiver and there are many Biblical stories of his deceptions, beginning with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.
In Matthew 16:23 Satan used Peter to speak against the ways of God. Jesus does not hesitate to call the words of Peter demonic.
If it can happen to Peter, it can happen to any of us! But take heart, Jesus has prayed for us. Luke 22:31-34 & John 17:15.
Why do you think Jesus used Peter’s old name and then his new one in Luke 22:31-34?
The whole of John 17 is Jesus’ final prayer before His physical suffering as He went to he cross. It is very rich and worth studying in detail. As you read it, take time to imagine Jesus thinking of you as He was praying.
Jesus obviously had all the Spiritual gifts, and recognised Satan immediately. For us it is not so easy. What must we do?
- 1 John 4:1-3
Unfortunately many people who work in the name of Jesus are not really in His army. (Matthew 7:21-23)
Jesus does not ask us to work for Him, so much as He asks us to love Him. He is looking for a relationship. (John 15:15) Out of that relationship come the things He asks us to do. (Matthew 28:16-20)
He is waiting for His Bride, (Revelation 21) those who love Him more than anything else. (Revelation 12:11)
Paul makes it clear in his writings that the enemy is working within the churches. (Acts 20:29-31)
How can you avoid being deceived by the enemy working within your church?
What do you do if/when you recognise the enemy at work in your life / your family / your community?
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)
This is one of the most chilling stories of Satan at work in the Church.
Is the same deception still in our churches today?
Does your leader/pastor/priest have the gift of knowledge that Peter showed in this passage?
Is it possible that Satan has so much hold on the church that few people recognise him?
Do you think this was an extreme case, keeping the church on the right path at the beginning of the “Church age”?
Would the story have been the same if Paul had already written his letter to the Ephesians, and encouraged wearing the “Belt of Truth”?
What reaction would there be if someone was struck down dead at the words of the leader in your church?
Can you reconcile this story to the idea of a God who forgives?
David and Absalom 2 Samuel chapters 13-18
2 Samuel Chapter 13
This chapter shows us that David was not the best of fathers, and he made many mistakes. When his eldest son Ammon raped his own half sister, Tamar who was Absalom’s real sister, David did nothing to punish him although the Bible records his fury. (2 Samuel 13:21)
The consequences of this were disastrous. Absalom took the law into his own hands, killed his half brother, and fled.
The result of David’s bad handling of the affair was the loss of both his sons!
We read of David’s fury about the rape of his daughter in verse 21, why do you think he didn’t react:
- He didn’t know what to do?
- He was too busy with world affairs?
- He felt guilty about his own sin with Bathsheba? (2 Samuel 11)
- His sons were adults and he had no more authority over them?
Whatever the reason, it seems as though David was not living as close to God as he could have been. There is no mention of him seeking the Lord about how to deal with the ongoing situation.
2 Samuel Chapter 14
Chapter 14 begins with Joab, one of David’s “mighty men” (Joab is mentioned 100 times in the books of 1&2 Samuel and 1 Kings) trying to reconcile David to his son Absalom.
Joab persuades “a wise woman” to influence the king by acting the part of someone who had lost two sons. The first 20 verses of this chapter recount their conversation.
Was Joab running with his own ideas, or did this come from the Lord?
David recognised the persuasive tactics of Joab, and gave in, but in verse 23 we read that while David allowed Absalom back into the city he refused to see him.
- What was David’s reasoning?
- Do you think he was wise?
Verse 25 shows us Absalom’s vanity. And the chapter continues revealing his wiles and determination to have things done his way. It is interesting that he named his daughter Tamar after his sister. At the end of the chapter we see that he got his way, and finally was received for an audience with his father King David.
Do you think Absalom always had the intention of replacing his father on the throne, or did that develop with his ongoing unforgiveness?
Bitterness can allow the enemy into our lives with dire consequences.
Now that you have learned about the “Armour of God” from Ephesians 6, what pieces do you think Absalom should have been wearing?
What should David have been doing?
Could he have prevented the family discord?
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