Today I wanted to share with you the transcript of Pastor Faith Bosmans’ sermon she gave recently. With her permission, I am so honored to share her words with you here. Spiritual warfare has been plaguing my life recently, and I am ever-voraciously learning about how to use God’s Word and my status as a redeemed by Jesus, daughter of God, Spirit-filled Christian to combat the lies of the Enemy. And I deeply yearn for you to learn, too!
2 Kings 6:8-17 New Living Translation
8 When the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he would confer with his officers and say, “We will mobilize our forces at such and such a place.”
9 But immediately Elisha, the man of God, would warn the king of Israel, “Do not go near that place, for the Arameans are planning to mobilize their troops there.” 10 So the king of Israel would send word to the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he would be on the alert there.
11 The king of Aram became very upset over this. He called his officers together and demanded, “Which of you is the traitor? Who has been informing the king of Israel of my plans?”
12 “It’s not us, my lord the king,” one of the officers replied. “Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!”
13 “Go and find out where he is,” the king commanded, “so I can send troops to seize him.”
And the report came back: “Elisha is at Dothan.” 14 So one night the king of Aram sent a great army with many chariots and horses to surround the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
If you have your Bible, please open to the book of Ephesians in the New Testament, Ch 6. You might want to put your finger here or a piece of paper… we are going to tip our toes into this passage, kind of go for a scenic walk, and then come back to it a bit later.
I personally did not really understand or appreciate the truth of spiritual attack until several years ago. My husband and I went to a weekend marriage event. But we were leaving this conference & the very last thing they said to us really impacted me. It was a very strong warning to be careful. He said “Watch out! You are leaving here with a target on your back. As far is Satan is concerned you now have a bull’s-eye between your shoulder blades. Satan hates a strong Christian marriage & he will do whatever he can to tear it apart.”
That warning served as the foundation for me to understand all this better. And I’ve had several opportunities to speak that valuable warning into others.
THAT is what I want to do today, I want to warn you to the spiritual activity I have been seeing in our church.
I understand if this kind of message is stretching the comfort zone of some people. I get it. It’s not always something we talk about but I think it something we should be talking about more. That said I am not prepared to teach a four week or six week sermon series on spiritual attack or the spiritual battle that we face. Hopefully next year this is something we can address more fully. But today I simply want to bring a level of awareness to you. And next week we will dig in a little bit more to see how we should respond in order to fight effectively. I want to make you aware of what I have been seeing so that you are not caught off guard and hit with a spiritual suckerpunch.
Perhaps a you are like one of the several people who have come to me in the last week or two. Perhaps you had this feeling of what the heck is going on - or what is wrong with me? Perhaps you are experiencing conflict in your home or inside of you.
If this is you, you are gonna be very glad you came today because I hope to shed some insight into what you’re experiencing right now. I also want to tell you that you are not alone.
Again I just want say I understand that this topic of spiritual warfare is getting a little out there for some people and I just want to assure you that what we are talking about today is absolutely biblical and it is addressed in the word of God over and over. So hang with me - if you have questions and you can write them down. You’re welcome to email me or you can ask in our Bible class after church. I will do my best to answer your questions.
You can open your Bible again to Ephesians ch 6, we will read vs 12.
Let’s just start out with one more bit of PROOF that - you may not know it or you may not wanna think about it, but there IS a spiritual realm to our world.
Ephesians 6:12 NLT
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Here is how we are going approach this topic today:
1 - Everything bad is not Satan
2 - What the heck… ?!
3 - Satan 101
4 - Battle Plan
EVERYTHING BAD IS NOT SATAN
READ from devotional Experiencing God (pg 15) by Henry Blackaby
“There is a tendency among Christians to view anything unpleasant that happens to them as a result of “spiritual warfare.“ When a difficulty arises, many immediately ask God to remove their distress. The problem is that their predicament may have nothing to do with Satan or with spiritual warfare. It may appear far more glorious for us to explain our hardships as Satan’s determined attacks against us, rather than admitting that we are merely repeating what we have sown and are being disciplined by our heavenly Father.
… How tragic never to make the connection between your problems and God‘s discipline. God‘s discipline will not help you if you dismiss it as Satan’s doing or spiritual warfare. Not every hardship is the chastisement of God, but scripture indicates that God will discipline you. If you misunderstand God’s chastising, you may actually blame him for not answering your prayers or failing to protect you from Satan. Meanwhile, God is warning you of the danger you face because of your sin. His nature is perfect love, and He correct you because He has your ultimate good in His heart.”
2. WHAT THE HECK...?!
It is important that we recognize (and perhaps take responsibility for)...the fact that some of the junk stuff we go through is the result of our sin, our own poor choices, or just part of living life in this broken, fallen world.
BUT….if you call yourself a Christ follower, it’s equally important you recognize that you have a powerful adversary.
Satan is aligned against Christ. Satan’s mission is to utterly oppose Him. That means if you are with Christ, Satan opposes you, too. Satan is aligned against YOU.
So how do you know if the issues you are dealing with right now are from Satan?
I really wish I could give you this nice pat answer, but I am afraid I just can’t. He is a lot more clever than that. If Satan was obvious, he would have never earned the title ‘The Deceiver.’
I do, at least, have a few red flags for you to look for. If you notice one of these things, an attack from Satan is worth your consideration.
The first one would be CONFLICT. Are you experiencing an unusual amount of conflict? Or an increase in the conflict? … In your marriage? In your home? In other relationships? Are you wondering ‘what the heck is going on?”
Those of you that watch crime shows might know the answer to this question… If you are a cop walking down the street and a person ahead of you gets shot, what is the first thing you do after taking cover? Identify where the shots came from. Identify the enemy. You cannot effectively respond to an attack if you don’t know who the enemy is. You must identify the enemy!
Your parents are not the enemy. Your husband or wife is not the enemy. Your co-workers are not the enemy.
Satan is your enemy. He delights in causing strife.
The second flag is INTERNAL CONFLICT. Do you feel like your mind has become a battlefield? Some of us feel like that all the time, right?! But I know for myself, I have learned - and I am still learning - that there are times when there is a distinct change in how I think and how I feel. For me, it’s like being knocked over by a wave of doubt and insecurity. It’s the whisper that says, “What do you think you are doing? God could never use someone like you.” It’s the whisper that says, “You are so pathetic! Why would anyone want to listen to anything you have to say.”
Anyone could argue “that’s depression” or “that’s anxiety” - but here’s how I know it’s not. Because I have discovered it happens at very paramount/strategic times in my ministry growth. One of the more powerful times this happened was the night before I was going to preach for the very first time. All of those things I just mentioned hit me hard all at once. I was bawling, and I didn’t even know why. I fell asleep that night crying. And do you want to know what I did the next morning?
I got up in front of a few hundred people and I preached as well as my petrified heart could preach. Because I might stumble under the intensity of Satan’s desperate attack, but I chose to cling to the promises of God’s hand on my life.
I have felt the same thing both before and after that night - as I said, in the midst of these very important times when God would be growing me to the next level. I have experienced it more than once since I became your pastor.
**If you are living sold out for Christ, watch out!! You are a threat to Satan, and he does NOT fight nice. **Be aware of internal conflict in times of your life when you are shaking things up for the kingdom of God. If you’re asking yourself, “What the heck is wrong with me?”, be aware - this is one of the schemes of Satan.
One more thing that Satan might roll your way in an effort to derail you... is OLD SIN. You have found freedom in Christ. You have been redeemed. You’ve left it in the past. And all of a sudden that sin pops back up to knock on your door. Woooah….I thought I was done with you.
... all of a sudden that thought is there ...That urge returns ...That person calls you on the phone - single again and just wanting to say hi.
If you find there is an old sin that starts calling your name again… If you find yourself thinking, “What the heck?! I thought I was done with that.” … Then beware! Satan doesn’t have to be creative, you know! He doesn’t have to try anything new, he knows there’s a good chance you will fall back into the same sin you were before.
So if you find yourself asking, “What the heck?!”... either due to unusual conflict in your relationships ….or internal conflict ...or old sin…. BE ON THE LOOKOUT! 1 Peter says the Devil prowls around like a thief in the night and he wants to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). I promise you this - if you are living for Christ, growing in your faith, and advancing the kingdom, then Satan wants to destroy you.
Please know these three red flags are certainly not the only ways Satan will attack believers, there more up his sleeve, so your experience may be different. Again, today I am trying to provide a basic level of understanding and awareness.
That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of you would insist you have never been spiritually attacked. If that is you, then I have two things for you to consider. One - you actually have, you just did not recognize it as such. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to share this message. If you and I can start to see like Elisha’s servant... actually see that there is a good and evil spiritual realm all around us, we will be better prepared for this battle. Some of us don’t know we are in the middle of a war.
The next thing to consider is that ...you’re right. Perhaps you haven’t been attacked in this way. That may seem like a relief, but it’s not. I would argue that it’s worse. Because it means you’re not even on Satan’s radar. Have any of you parent’s ever yelled at your kids down the hall, “Don’t make me get up!” ...When do you get up? When you’re more annoyed than you are comfortable. Some of us haven’t bothered Satan enough to make him even get up. You are no threat to his mission.
I would call that person a complacent Christian. I have been that Christian. It’s very comfortable, but watch out! God calls it being lukewarm, and in Revelation he says he will spit you out of his mouth. (R3:16). If that is you, don’t take this message as condemnation - instead it is a wake up call! It is no fun when the spirit of darkness starts causing havoc in your life - but it is a sign your life in Christ is making Satan uncomfortable. That, my friend, is a good thing!
OK we need to keep moving….
3. SATAN 101
When we talked about conflict we said you need to identify your enemy. So I want to spend a couple minutes making sure we understand - who is Satan and who are his demons?
Satan - or the Devil - is a created being, so he is not eternal. He did not always exist like God did. In fact he was an angel created by God. But he was a special angel - described as powerful and beautiful. But he became prideful and rebelled against God. After that, Satan was thrown from heaven - along with about 30% of the rest of the angels. Those angels became Satan’s angels - what we would call demons.
● Satan and his demons are real, evil, and strategic.
● They are invisible although they do have the ability to show themselves.
● If you are a believer, then you cannot be possessed by the devil or demons, because Paul says you are sealed by the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22) You CAN however be influenced.
● Satan cannot be everyone at once like God, so usually when we refer to Satan’s work, it is being carried out by demons.
● Satan is called the Father of Lies (John 8:44) … that means he can lie, give half-truths, and distort the truth, like nobody else.
● Satan and demons are powerful - but not all powerful like God. The book of Acts even records a time when some guys tried to cast out demons and the demons ended up beating the tar of the guys. So we would be foolish to think that we can withstand them or outsmart them by our own efforts. I would liken that to a 1st grade wrestler stepping in the ring to fight a vicious, no holds barred MMA fighter. By our own efforts, we are no more likely to even survive than that 1st grader fighting a vicious expert.
We have covered some of these but here is a list of some ways that Satan works in our lives:
Doubt Despair and … Spiritual laziness
He doesn’t need to get you to reject God. (repeat). He just needs to divert your attention from what God wants you to do, inactivate you, or to disarm you as a spiritual life force. Does that make sense? He knows he can’t snatch you out of God’s hand, so he settles with crippling our impact on the world.
4. BATTLE PLAN
Imagine this… It is WWII. President Roosevelt is meeting with his favorite military leaders trying to figure out how to defeat Hitler. One of the most wise and strategic leaders whips out of his pocket the best battle plan of all battle plans every made. AND this plan came with a guarantee that it would be 100% successful. A battle plan with 100% success rate guaranteed! ….What should President Roosevelt do…..? Follow the plan! Yes! He would be a fool NOT to.
Well, guess what…. God is for us. He is for his kingdom. And he wants his people to partner with him on this fight against the spirit of darkness. So then, he has provided everything we need.
He has given us a clear picture of what we are up against. He has given us the warning to watch out because Satan wants to take us out. AND he has given us a battle plan guaranteed to be 100% successful.
We would be fools not to use it. No one knows Satan better than God. No one knows how Satan thinks better than God. And no one knows how to fight against Satan better than God!
So let’s turn back to the book of Ephesians to see what this battle plan is...
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)
The Whole Armor of God
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we[a] are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[b] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[c] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
THIS is God’s battle plan to fight against Satan. THIS is how we will still be standing
...even after Satan sends wave after wave of doubt, fear, discouragement, and temptation
….even after he has accused you of being worthless, hopeless, and useless
...even after he has caused you so much pain that you would rather crawl into a ball than go on another day.
If you follow God’s battle plan, you WILL STILL BE STANDING after the attack.
We don’t have enough time to cover what I want to in one day, so come back next week and we are going to dig into this passage more and try to understand in better. Then instead of being innocent 1st graders getting into the ring to fight against a vicious enemy, we can be powerful competitor.
Listen as I read The Message paraphrase of our same passage in Ephesians…
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
I would like to close our message today on a personal note… A few weeks ago I attended a silent prayer retreat for ministers. The retreat was guided and at one point we were given 30 minutes left to live. What would you do? We were to set a timer and in 30 minutes you are GONE. No time to plan …. GO!!
I wrote to those I loved. My three children, my husband, and lastly, you - my church. With literally seconds left, here is what I wrote to you...
“To my church - Thank you for allowing me the sweet privilege of being your pastor. You are wonderful, and it’s been hard, but I loved it! Shed the chains of complacency and live with the FIRE of the Holy Spirit. Change your community and bring new life to those around you. Fight the discouraging, disabling whispers of Satan and live in the promises, strength, and POWER of Christ!”
Sermon delivered Nov 4, 2018
New Harvest AG Church
Pastor Faith Bosmans
Pastor Faith is a recent addition to the New Harvest family. She loves teaching the Bible and connecting with those around her.
Pastor Faith has an awesome husband, Mike, and three kids – Cailyn, Cooper, and Joshua. Together the Bosmans family likes hiking, kayaking, and playing all kind of games.