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About this series
The Invisible War
What Every Believer Needs to Know About Satan, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare
Beneath our tangible landscape lurks an invisible spiritual realm where unseen battles rage. It's real. And it's dangerous. If you're prepared to remove the blinders and gaze into the unseen world, Chip Ingram is ready to take you there. Hang on to your seat. It's going to be a journey inside the very folds of our Bibles, a journey that will teach us about our greatest foe, Satan, also known as Lucifer, the Dragon, Serpent, and Son of the Morning Star. Although this lying thief comes to "steal, kill, and destroy," God details, in Ephesians 6, the battle plan to uncover Satan's cunning deceptions and to resist his sinister schemes. The cosmic conflict exploding all around us will have eternal implications, for us and those we love. This series will prepare you to do spiritual battle with the enemy of your soul... and win! You'll learn to clothe yourself with God's spiritual armor so you can be confident of certain victory over the scheming enemy.More from this series
Not only is there an invisible world, not only are we in an invisible battle and cosmic conflict, but our foe is formidable, and his goal is to destroy us and discredit the cause of Christ. Ephesians 6:12. Here’s the deal. Satan is powerful. We’re going to learn in just a minute that he was the highest of all the angels, the classification of a cherub. We’ll learn that he was the most brilliant, the most beautiful, the most powerful, and that he was actually given to govern the Earth. He’s the prince and the power of the air – this heaven over…and so, you don’t want to take it lightly.
Notice what Peter says. In the midst of persecution, he writes to the Church, 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit. Be on the alert. Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” He plays for keeps. He wants to destroy you.
All I want you to know is that we really need to understand that this enemy is formidable, and powerful, and deceitful, and can trick us and fool us and create a roaring lion. We had a chance many years ago to be in Africa, and I didn’t know that much about lions. But the way they hunt is the one, you can hear a roar like two or three miles, and it’s scary. Roar! And then he walks. Well, guess what, all the game goes the other direction. And while big daddy’s roaring over here, there’s four or five lionesses that are all waiting over here, just, “Bring them on, daddy.”
Fear is one of the greatest weapons of the enemy. In many ways, I think of him of, I don’t know, I have a friend who did this to me, which I deeply didn’t appreciate and almost lost my hearing. But he had a gun, a very big gun, and he said, “Oh, have you seen this?” And he put it up like this and then boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And my heart came out of my chest and my ear almost came out, but it had blanks in it. But it scared me like it was real. My body responded like it was real. And the enemy will do things in your life to give fear at the depth of your soul that will paralyze you and keep you from trusting God and doing His will.
With that then, here’s what I’d like to do. I rarely give ... Now you’re looking at your notes and going, “If we’re going to cover all of this, I hope the guy falls out of the window soon, because I mean this guy’s got more verses and more outlines here than we’ll cover.” Here’s what I want you to know. We’re going to cover it, but a little bit differently. I believe that you really learn best when you look up things and you dig them out for yourself.
And the reason I put all those verses in there is for those who may be a little bit more like me who are thinking, “You know, I think you’re a little over the top on talking about Satan and demons. I don’t think it’s that big a deal.” I wanted you to see for yourself how big a deal it is, okay?
So, let me give you an overview. So, is Satan for real? The authority of the Bible, we find him in the very beginning, Genesis; and Chronicles and the middle; and Revelation. All the way through. The testimony of Christ, we have twenty-five references of Christ interacting with demons. In Matthew chapter 4, if you believe the text, he had a personal encounter with Lucifer himself, being tempted with the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Memo, He didn’t pull out His: “I’m God” card to defeat him. He showed us how to do spiritual battle. “It is written. It is written. It is written.” We’ll talk about it later.
Who is Satan? He’s a created spirit according to Colossians 1 and Job 1:3. He’s an angel of the highest classification, a cherub. And when I say cherub, do not think Hallmark, cute little cheeks. Think of a blazing angel that is so powerful, you would fall flat on your face. He’s the highest of all the created beings, Ezekiel 28.
Where did he come from? He was created perfect. He had a heavenly estate. His job description was to be the guardian of God’s glory. Talk about, boy, what a job. The occasion of his sin is power and beauty. The nature of his sin was pride, and the cause of his sin was his own free personal choice.
And let me just give you what I call, they’re the five “I will” statements. I can’t develop it, but the two places, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14, again often the prophets will be talking about a geographical real situation, and then they’ll sort of go off and talk about Satan and then come back to that. And in Isaiah 14:13, this is the cause of Satan’s fall. This is Satan speaking, “I will ascend to heaven.” Well, he already had access to God. What he’s saying is, “I will ascend and I’m going to occupy the abode of God. I want equal recognition with Him.”
In the same chapter, he says, “I will raise my throne above the stars of God.” The morning stars are all the angels that God has already created. So, he wants to be independent and sort of run his own show.
Third, “I will sit on the mount of the assembly.” This is where God rules. So, “I want equality with God. Now, I want to run the show. I want to be in control. And then where God rules, I want to rule instead of Him.” Four, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.” The clouds, a picture here is of God’s glory. “I want to be now above God.” And number five, “I will make myself like the Most High.” And that’s the occasion of his sin. And he knows his destiny, and a third of the angels fell at this coup and this rebellion, and his goal is to destroy everything that’s meaningful to God.
When you want to really trick people and change their values, the values have changed a hundred and eighty degrees in the last thirty or forty years, but we had to laugh about things that were wrong and evil, and then it got to be, well, okay with a little conflict. Then it got to be normalized, and then it got to be you’re a narrow bigot if you just disagree. That did not happen overnight.
And that’s not human ingenuity. The goal of the enemy is to blind the minds to say instead of: this is male and female, this is beauty and family, this is a community, this is what we do with our children, this is a community of people that sacrifice for one another, and it’s twisted. By the way, this passage teaches don’t get so mad at the people that are getting deceived. The whole passage said the battle’s not against flesh and blood. It’s not like, “Well, the government. It’s the media. It’s that group. It’s this group. It’s that group.” They are being manipulated. What they need is loved by us in ways with a lifestyle where they go, “Oh.” But you live it first in our day, and then we get to tell them.
So, I just want to tell you, Satan’s real. And so, I want my way. Can anyone vaguely remember what the temptation was in the garden? What was the promise to Eve? Oh, yeah. That’s right. You can be God. Do you understand? Okay, what’s God? I’m in control. My desires, my personal fulfillment, my self-esteem. Does any of this sound familiar? I mean, welcome to the NFL, people.
But it’s not just the culture. It’s not Hollywood. It’s not this. It’s not that. There is an orchestrated plan. Paul would say stop fighting spiritual battles with fleshly means and start warring with supernatural weapons.
Number one, we’re living in this world. There’s visible, invisible. Number two, there’s a cosmic conflict. Number three, our foe is formidable. He’s real. There’s a lot of verses that talk about him.
Number four, we must respect our foe, but not fear him. Become acutely aware of his methods, but not be preoccupied by them. Get that. You respect him. You don’t fear him.
Paul is agreeing to forgive this brother, and then he goes, “In order that no advantage may be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” Circle the word schemes again. Strategies. Here’s the question I have for you. Are you ignorant of his strategies? If so, you’re getting duped. You can work as hard as you want, try as hard as you want, want to be a good person.
If you want to know Satan’s strategies, here’s the film. Study his names. His name reveals his strategies. Here’s some of his names. He’s anointed cherub. He’s the prince of this world. Like I said, he’s orchestrating things. His name is Satan. That means adversary. The prince and the power of the air. He has authority over ... Remember Jesus talked about the god of this world or the god of this age. He’s the prince and the power of demons, so he has a host of angels working for him. He’s Lucifer. That means son of the morning or literally of the light.
We get the idea that evil is always going to be packaged in weird stuff and ugly stuff. Some of the most amazing evil in the world is beautiful, attractive, luring. It’s amazing if you look at places where there’s great satanic activity. Go to Boulder, Colorado. Go to Sedona. Go to Santa Cruz. New Age places. It’s the most beautiful places in the world and they take that beauty and they talk about, “Here’s where the energy cells at.” Where we lived in Santa Cruz, more satanic bookstores than any place but Boulder, Colorado.
The offers are not ugly and bad. He promises beautiful things. Think of what he promised Jesus. “Jesus, come. Here’s all the kingdoms of all the world. I’ll give them all to you.” Now think of this. He had the authority to do it. Is that how you see Satan? Do you think of an angel that has the authority to give all the kingdoms? Have you ever thought that nations are being influenced, that governments, that economies, that laws? I mean, this is amazing.
He’s the evil one. It’s a very interesting word, ho poneros. It means: intrinsically wicked and corrupt. It’s the Hitlers of the world that were inspired. The level of ruthlessness, the wiping out of children, companies that would purposely, knowingly pour toxins into the water streams because we can make millions of dollars rather than clean it up. It’s evil. The abuse of little children, the taking of women and children in Thailand, in the Philippines and selling them and abusing them. This is wickedness, and this is what he does. These are his names.
It goes on to say he’s a tempter. He’s the one who promises things. “Oh, you can take a shortcut. You don’t have to do it the other way. No one will ever find out.” He’s the accuser; condemnation.
There’s some of you that have lived with: you don’t measure up. And Satan used a teacher, or a mom, or a dad, or a coach to tell you, “You’re a loser, you don’t measure up,” and you’ve believed it. What may have come through a human person, that’s from the enemy. That’s a lie. You are worth the very blood and the life of the Son of God. That’s how precious you are to Him.
Ultimately, he’s a deceiver. This is his middle name. When his lips are moving, he’s lying. Jesus called him the father of lies. He’s the accuser of the brethren. Notice, he represents himself as a servant, so he’s crafty; a dragon, fearful, powerful, terrifying; as an angel of light; as the father of lies. Notice his programs. When you look at this, all I want you to do is: look at all these verses.
This is what the Bible says. Those are verses. This is what the Bible says. This is what Jesus says. This is a big deal.
Look at the sheer amount of material. Can we afford to be ignorant of his schemes? Could it be, I mean currently, church is in decline among Christians, morals are declining among Christians, the giving, financial giving across the board in churches today is less per capita than during the Great Depression. Oh. It’s us, right? By the way, at a time, despite our corporate national debt, the most affluence in the history of the world resides in the United States. Marriages are fractured like never before. Could anyone think, maybe there’s something going on? The sexual confusion, the attack on people’s identity.
Here’s the good news. Satan’s power is limited. He’s created and therefore not omniscient or infinite. Second, he can be resisted by the Christian. For some of you, it’s like, you know I’m just teasing, but, “Hey honey, you think we could keep the light on tonight?” He’s formidable, but we don’t have to be afraid.
Here’s the last one and maybe the most important. As believers in Christ, we do not fight for victory. We fight from victory. In Christ’s power, we are invincible. Let me say that again, and I’m not trying to be cute. As believers in Christ, we do not fight for victory. You’re not going against him to try and win. You fight from victory. You’ve already won.
Here’s the promises from God over Satan that if you find yourself struggling or thinking you’re aware of some things, and we’ll talk very specifically about how to do this in our times together, but here’s some passages that if you’ve never memorized any passages, these would be good ones. 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and overcome them, because greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” 1 John 5:4 and 5, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that did overcome the world, our faith. And who is the one who has overcome the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” Romans 12:11, it’s talking about Satan. “And they overcome him,” Satan, how? “By the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even unto death.” And then finally, James 4:7 and 8, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
I’m going to talk a little bit later and I’m going to give you all kind of hope. I’m going to tell you a story of a ten-year-old boy that, because he lived in my house and when we lived in Santa Cruz, we went from the mind, and the heart, and the general deception to overt, wacky, weird, satanic stuff that I thought only happened overseas, or with missionaries, or someone else.
And I will tell you that a ten-year-old boy armed with those verses got out of his bed on his knees, quoted them out loud, told the demons where to go, and bam. And I talked to him at breakfast the next morning, because I heard what was going on, and this happened much in our house. And we’ll talk a little bit more about it. It was just like it was terrifying the first two years we lived there.
And I remember Ryan going, “Dad, I’m just sick and tired of this stuff happening in the middle of the night.” He’s ten years old, so what’s he know? He just believes. “Greater in me than him, my belief.” “Dad, usually I wake you up and we pray and all that, but I just got tired of this, so I got down on my knees and I quoted those verses and I told them to leave, because I wanted to go back to bed, and they did.”
Because here’s the thing. Here’s what you need to understand. The power is not in your great faith. The power is you’re God’s child. You’re His sons. You’re His daughters. And when Jesus says, “It is written,” or you say, “It is written,” the authority of Scripture is over demonic forces. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
Here’s a summary that I want you to get because I wanted to plant these truths. Satan is a defeated foe, John 12:31. Jesus destroyed the works of the devil, Colossians 2:14 and 15. We are victors in Christ, 1 Corinthians 15:55 to 58. And we have the power and resources to resist Satan and demonic attacks, 1 John 4:4. “We must learn how to put on the full armor of God to experience in daily living the victory,” underline this last phrase, “that we already possess.”