The Won-Loss Record

With Football season coming up, fans everywhere are speculating on what their favorite team’s record is going to be this year.  God’s people in the Old Testament also had battles that can be looked at from a won-loss record standpoint.  Much can be learned by examining what went into the victories and what happened behind the scenes in the defeats.  One thing is clear: when God’s people were living right and in line with His word, victory was assured, even in the direst of situations.

Let’s examine the won-loss records of different time periods in Israel’s past:

  • When Israel was in the wilderness: 5-1.  The one loss, to Amelek (Numbers 14), was caused by unbelief.
  • Joshua’s conquest: 13-1.  The one loss, to little Ai (Joshua 7), was caused by the disobedience of Achan.
  • King Saul: 6-1. To the Philistines (1 Samual 31).  Saul was already defeated by demons and military defeat soon followed.
  • King David: 8-0. PERFECT!  Kind of like the Miami Dolphins perfect record of 14-0 in 1972.  It hasn’t been matched and neither was David’s.  This man had a heart after God.  He wasn’t perfect as a man, but his heart sought to please God.
  • Judah (after Solomon and the split): 10-18
  • Israel, i.e., the northern kingdom (after Solomon and the split): 11-17
  • A combined record of 21-35 for God’s people after the split.  Not exactly making the playoffs!  This was caused by rebellion, idolatry, unbelief and discord.  Many of the kings did that which was outwardly right but did not tear down the high places of idolatry in the land.

Jeremiah 5:25 says that “your sins have withheld many good things from you.”  As long as your heart and life are in rebellion to God, you will live in defeat.  It’s time to turn your season around and get on a winning streak with God!  Start by reading and re-reading the playbook – the Bible, and putting the “plays” into practice by being a doer of the Word of God.  Soon you will learn that the battle is not yours, but the battle belongs to the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Spiritual Wrestling and the Armor of God, part 3 of 3

This is the third, and last, part in our teaching on Spiritual Wrestling and the Armor of God.  Today, we discuss the Armor of God.

In answer to this hierarchy of demonic power arrayed against us, the believers are to put on the whole armor of God as detailed in Ephesians 6:14-18:

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

  1. The Belt of Truth (v 14): Truth and integrity of heart is what holds the armor together. When one departs from God’s truth and personal integrity all else is out of place.
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness (v 14): The breastplate covers the vital organs such as the heart.  It is the righteousness of God in Christ that covers us.  All of our righteousness is as filthy rags.  However, His righteousness must be go beyond a legal fact to an experiential reality in our lives if true protection is to be found.
  3. Gospel Shoes (v 15):  The center of the believer’s life must be focused on evangelism. This puts our attention and concerns on the needs of others. When our focus is self-centered in our Christian walk, there is a hole in the armor.
  4. Shield of Faith (v 16): Faith quenches all the of the fiery darts of the wicked one. When Satan was attacking Simon Peter, it was Peter’s faith that Jesus prayed for (Luke 22:31-32). It is the faith of God in our hearts that overcomes the world (I John 5:4). Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
  5. Helmet of Salvation (v 17): The helmet covers the head area, the mind.  The importance of protecting the thought life cannot be emphasized enough. Here once again it is reiterated to us that we need to cover our minds with God’s armor. More often than not this is the place that Satan finds access.
  6. Sword of the Spirit (Word of God) (v 17): This is the only offensive weapon in our arsenal. “Word” here is the Greek word rhema, meaning “the intimate personal word from God as spoken through His overall Word.” In other words, it is not head knowledge of the Word that will defeat the devil. It is the revelation knowledge of the Word spoken out of our mouths from the spirit that will drive back the enemy. This is the weapon that Jesus Himself employed during His, wilderness temptation. Three times Jesus declared “IT IS WRITTEN!” until Satan had to flee!
  7. Prayer In The Spirit (v 18): This is not a weapon per say, but the place in which the weapons are engaged. The armor is not a mythical metaphor without any practical value.  The armor is dynamic in its working when employed in prayer. This is the battle ground, where the battle is fought and won.  Satan trembles when the weakest saint of God gets on his knees to pray.  Satan is not fearful of men of standing, but men of kneeling.  This kind of prayer can only be accomplished in the Spirit. Praying in other tongues in intercession opens up a whole new arena in which we are the dominator, for Satan has no power over our heavenly language.

When Jesus commissioned and sent forth the 70 disciples, he gave them power over unclean spirits in His-name.  Luke 10:17 records their triumphant return:

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” 

Jesus responded to them by saying:

Behold, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

Notice the play on words between “authority” and “power.”  This is vital to our understanding.  Satan has never lost his power. He is not a toothless lion as some depict. If this were so, why would there be four billion people under his control (see Revelation 12:9)? Why would there be so much violence and suffering in the world?  He has not lost his power.  Jesus did not say that He would give us more power than the devil.  He said He has given us AUTHORITY over his power.

In I Timothy 4:1, the Apostle Paul said that in the last days there would be:

  • A great departure from the Faith.
  • Seducing spirits sent into all the earth.
  • Doctrines of demons taught as the doctrines of God.

As believers, we must rise up in the authority that God has given us. This is not a game that we are in, but real warfare. Up to this point, many have been losing the battle.  If you see any place in your life that Satan has taken the advantage, please repent and recapture that forfeited ground. God wants you walking in complete victory!

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