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WINNING THE WAR

 

By Dr. Richard Ing

June 23, 2005

 

Spiritual warfare is not just casting out of demons and binding up ruler spirits.  The Devil is a strategist and attacks us in many areas.  Satan fights us through: 

(1) persecution; (2) diseases; (3) oppression; (4) lethargy; (5) false doctrines and practices that weaken us; (6) the lusts of the flesh; (7) the pull of the world; (8) lack of endurance/weariness; (9) discouragement.  We need to recognize Satan’s attack in these areas and begin to fight back.

 
Make no mistake - we are in a war!  Satan constantly attacks the body, mind and the heart.  Just because you don’t feel different and it appears that circumstances have not changed, doesn’t mean that you’re not under attack.  You may already have been neutralized by the enemy and are no longer participating in or being effective in the battle!  Unless you gird up your loins and set your face like flint, you will lose both individually and as a participant in God’s mighty army!

 
One of the Devil’s greatest weapons is to wear down the saints, to discourage and neutralize.  Daniel 7:25 says, “And he (one of the horns on Satan’s beast) shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High ….”   Underlining added)

 
Endurance is highly necessary in spiritual warfare because the enemy’s plans to wear you down.  Some will quit because of battle fatigue; some will slow down because of worldly interests, the pursuit of riches, etc.  Many Christians have already retired from the battlefield because of weariness and discouragement.  Jesus says, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”  Mt. 24:13.  If you are no longer praying in the morning, reading the Bible, preaching the Gospel, learning deliverance or attending as many church functions as you can, you have been neutralized.  You are no longer in the battle!  You’re already a prisoner!

 
OUR HEADQUARTERS AND CHAIN OF COMMAND

 
Our headquarters for the battle that is raging in our area is the local church.  The leaders (or officers) are the elders.  The troops are the members.  The pastor is the head and the elders are his executive officers.  The pastor and the elders must keep close communications with each other and devise strategies to guide the church into battle.  Deacons are part of the line troops that keep the headquarters and troops moving in good order.  They are the ordinance and supply troops, the ones that have the job of maintaining the headquarters, supplies and military facilities.  This frees up the eldership for other duties.  Imagine if the general of the army had to clean latrines every day. 

 
The members are prayer warriors who are constantly battling in the spirit and fighting daily against the enemy.  They are not people who sit around and admire the roses.  They are the fighters.

 
Each leader and member must do his/her part.  The army is as strong as its weakest link.  Do not think that you have no part in the war against the kingdom of darkness.  The minute you were born again, you were earmarked by the Devil as someone to be destroyed.

 
PROTECTING THE HEAD

 
In any army, it is important to protect the leaders, especially the head.  Even in ancient battles, the generals of the army were surrounded by strong, dedicated and loyal warriors known for their bravery and courage.  If you are an elder or deacon, you have been chosen to be an armor bearer for your leader.  The enemy knows that if you kill the shepherd, the sheep will be scattered.  In Vietnam, the Vietcong looked for soldiers with the most stripes on their sleeves or metal insignias on their collars.  These stripes and insignias indicated high rank and leadership.  The enemy concentrated on killing the leaders. They knew that if they killed the head, the rest of the body would crumble.  In the end, the U.S. military had to dispense with stripes and insignias so that the enemy could not know who the leaders were.

 
So it is with Satan.  He concentrates on the pastors and other leaders.  He constantly attacks them and tries to bring them down.  Therefore, the church must always pray for and protect the leaders.  If the leaders are destroyed or neutralized, the church is destroyed or neutralized too.  Strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered and the battle lost.  Mk. 14:27.

 
PERPETUATING LEADERSHIP

 
It is important to train willing and qualified members to become the next leaders.  If the head is no longer functioning, someone has to take his place.  The key word is “willing.”  Many members have no desire to give up their place in life and sacrifice the time and effort needed to become God’s leader.  It takes much time, effort and sacrifice to become a spiritual leader.  Satan makes sure that everyone is busy earning a living and paying the bills, although many Christians are already well-off and are merely striving for more of the good life. 

 
Satan also provides wonderful worldly entertainments to keep us bound to the world and as a result, those in love with the world become non-combatants in the spiritual war for the souls of men and women.  While we cling to our hobbies and the good life, there are millions of missionaries willing to sacrifice their life on earth to serve God.  As the saying goes, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few ….”  Lk. 10:2; Mt. 9:37.

 
Another key word is “qualified.”  Some members who are not qualified to be a spiritual leader are constantly campaigning to become the next pastor or leader.  They are usually disqualified because of pride, lack real love for the church and people and have attitudes of self-promotion and disloyalty.  Their families may be disorderly and their relationships at home and with their children strained and tenuous.  Others are not team players and are renegade sheep.  It is dangerous to appoint such a person into leadership.  Soon everyone else in the church will want to do his own thing.  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.  1 Co. 5:6.

 
The church is vulnerable if there is no one willing and qualified to take over when the head retires or is disabled in other ways.  There should be a steady stream of willing and qualified leaders in any church.

 
WORKING ELDERSHIP

 
All elders are leaders.  The eldership must have the same vision and zeal as the senior pastor so that they can help advance the vision of the church and work as a team.  There can be no renegades.  The pastor cannot carry the load by himself for very long.  Elders should head the cell groups, the intercessory prayer group, the Bible School, the deacons, and other programs and activities of the church.  This makes it possible for the senior pastor to devote more time to prayer, reading the Word and preaching.. 

 
Elders need to see the church as their personal responsibility.  Since they are leaders, they should serve as hard-working examples to the sheep.  Elders need to be the ones who bring more people into the church than others.  They should be the ones who serve more than anyone else.  Some want the position and accolades, but don’t want the responsibility and work that come with it.  They are on cruise control.

 
DEACONS

 
In the early church, the office of a deacon was very important.  In modern times, some Christians feel that it is demeaning because deacons are more like janitors.  But the Bible indicates that all the deacons were men of spiritual maturity.  “… (L)ook ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.”  (underlining added)  Ac. 6:3.  To qualify for the office of deacon, one had to be the cream of the crop.  Deacons were not only servants; they were evangelists and prophets at the same time too (Philip, Stephen, etc.).  But in the church, they functioned as deacons.

 
Deacons are important to the church because they keep things moving.  They learn to serve others.  That is one of the greatest attributes of any leader - service to all.  “And whosever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”  Mt. 20:27.  Deacons are chief members of the church, in God’s eyes.  They are not mere janitors and workhorses; they were vital to the life of the church.  They are the next leaders.

 
If a deacon has a bad or negative attitude towards serving others, he has flunked the test.  A deacon needs to go all out in discharging the duties of his position.  If he is called to arrange rides for members, he should be arranging rides every meeting.  If he is called to serve tables, he should be ordering food, picking up the food, setting up the table, cleaning up after the meal and other things such a deacon is called to do.  If he is called to clean the church, he should be enthusiastic and zealous because it is God that appointed him, although the membership voted.  After all, nothing happens by chance and God put it in the hearts of the members to choose certain people to train for leadership.

 
Until deacons learn to serve others with all their heart, they are not yet ready for higher positions.  Good deacons make it possible for the elders to devote their time to prayer and ministering the Word.  Ac. 6:2-4. 

 
GOD’S GOVERNMENT

 
God has a government and a structure within His church.  There is a chain of command that is vital to the life of the church.  The same thing is true with any army in the natural and any well-organized and oiled corporation or business.  Elders, deacons and members should strive to mature within the framework of God’s governmental structure.  Anyone who sees himself as chosen of God to be above his fellow members and even leaders, and who begins to act independently of the local church government is in rebellion.  Rebellion is Satan’s character and principle.  One can agree with God’s framework and still function according to Satan’s principle of rebellion.

 
All members of the church are called into submission and obedience. All members must view their church as a place where they can demonstrate their love for God.  After all, the church is His body.  Disdain for Christ’s body is the same as disregard and disrespect for the Lord.  Church is not just a gathering of people; it is a living organism that has an identity of its own, a life of its own and a place in the body of Christ.  If Christ were in the church every meeting, how much reverence and respect would you have towards the church?  The truth is - He is!  Do not think that God does not know your attitudes towards the church.

 
OUR LOVE FOR THE CHURCH


Satan wants to destroy the church and every Christian on the face of the earth.   The church represents the last resistance against Satan’s ambition to rule the world.  No other organization in the world can stand against him.  Individual saints can accomplish much, but in the end, they cannot stand alone.  The Bible says that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the church).”  Mt. 16:18.  It does not say that the battle against the kingdom of darkness is an individual battle.  It takes the entire church to be an effective army.
 

We can be unconcerned about the church and other members because we may be individually anointed and spiritually mature in some areas.  But in the end, all of us individually cannot stand against the enemy.  Only a united church can.  Knowing this, we should all have a concern and love for the local church.  It is our means to defeat the demonic kingdom.  We cannot afford to ignore the church.  All of us needs to fight to protect the church, nurture it, love it and strive to perfect it.
 

Remember, Revelation 13:7 and Daniel 7:21,25 do not say that Satan is going to war against the church.  He is too clever for that.  The church is too powerful to defeat as an entity by itself.  Satan is going to war against the saints, individually, one by one.  He is going to divide and conquer.  Mt. 12:25; Mk. 3:24-25.  Therefore, we have a great need to unite and move as one body.  We cannot afford to allow only a few individuals to carry out the war against the demonic kingdom.  The duty to pray for the church is not the sole responsibility of a few intercessory warriors who come together on Thursday nights.  It is the responsibility of each and every member. 
 

GIRDING UP OUR LOINS AND SETTING OUR FACES LIKE FLINT
 

We are clearly in the middle of a period of preparation for what is about to come.  We pray for revival, but in doing so we are also praying for persecution and the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, because persecution will come on the heels of revival.  Mt. 24:14-22.  Persecution is sure to come on the heels of revival.  Hard times are coming sooner than you think.  We need to “gird up our loins” and prepare for the worse.  America has had such a long period of economic and military successes that we have been lulled into believing that it will never end.  I recall my parents telling me how awful things were during the depression years.  People had to stand in long lines just to receive a bowl of soup.  There were no jobs.  Ala Moana Beach Park was built by the government during the depression years, just to provide the jobless with something to do.  All the bars and theaters closed down because nobody had the money to go there.  In World War II, my parents used to stand in line to buy food.  They were issued coupons to buy cigarettes, beer and other items.
 

Your life and the life of the church depend on each saint girding up his/her loins and shaping up spiritually.  We have no choice.  In order to get through the dangerous times ahead, we need to set our faces like flint, determined to make it through. 

The phrase “gird up your loins” means to prepare yourself mentally and physically for some difficult task ahead.  1 Ki. 18:46; 2 Ki. 4:29; 2 Ki. 9:1; Job 38:3; 1 Pet. 1:13.  The phrase “set my face,” or “set my face like a flint” means to have extreme determination and intention.  Is. 50:7; Lk. 9:51.  At this point of time, we have a great need to gird up our loins and set our faces like flint in order to make it through until the end.
 

OUR WEAPONS
 

We have many weapons against the enemy: (A) prayer and fasting; (B) praise and worship; (C) casting out of devils; (D) binding up ruler spirits; (E) taking back souls and territories, (F) pulling down strongholds in our minds and hearts; (G) casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God; (H) bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (I) standing in the power and might of God; (J) praying that God will hide us under His wings and cover us with His feathers; (K) putting on the whole armor of God; (L) the Word; (M) the Blood; (N) the Holy Spirit; (O) holiness.  Which of these areas are you battling in?  Are you a non-combatant or a warrior?
 

To help you decide, please read the attached Evaluation sheet and assess your position in God’s army today.


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