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[Next][Up][Previous][Contents]
Next:Lift Up Your Head  Up:SermonsPrevious:Dangerous Trends in the Church Today
Sermons of
Rev. Phyllis H. Wolfram (1921-1985)
Pillar of Fire Church

Spiritual Wickedness Against Believers

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Eph 6:10-11)


I am going to use some scripture from the book of Ephesians, and we will be taking our lesson from the sixth chapter beginning with the tenth verse. We are going to talk about a very happy circumstance, and that is that although we are in this wicked world, and walking in this wicked world, and we are subject to all sorts of trials and temptations, the Lord has made a way of escape and made a way to keep us pure and keep us holy. A great many people perhaps feel that once you are saved and sanctified and have the Spirit of the Lord dwelling in your heart, that there is no more warfare or there is no more struggle. But this is not true. Often those who are the closest to the Lord will have the greatest struggles. They seem to have great trials and tribulations, and even temptations, because Satan is out to defeat God's children. And so we have a wonderful scripture here and we should rejoice that the Lord has made a way to escape, and He has provided safety and help against the enemy of our soul.

Paul

St. Paul is writing Ephesians to the believers and to those who have even known what it is to have the infilling of the Holy Spirit, which is a great cleansing of the heart and cleansing against the carnal nature and the coming in His fullness the Spirit of Christ. Some people call the infilling of the Holy Spirit the coming of the gift of tongues. Now we do not see that in the scripture. The infilling of the Holy Spirit has to do with great cleansing and purity. The gift of tongues is just as we say, a gift; and St. Paul said it was the least of the gifts, least of all of the gifts, and one that perhaps everybody does not receive. But all of us are to be holy and pure. The scripture says without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

So St. Paul is writing to the Christian, Spirit-filled believer, those who have consecrated, have given their hearts to the Lord, have asked Him to come in, in all of His fullness and cleansing power. So what should this kind of believer expect from the enemy? Would he expect that Satan would turn on his heal and run when he sees a Christian of this kind of faith? Or just what attitude does Satan take? Well, we read a great deal about Satan and his helpers in the scripture. And we find out, here in the tenth verse, that St. Paul in writing this epistle says finally, after all the things he has said previously about walking in the Spirit and how we should walk and explaining about the church which are the pure, the sanctified, the redeemed and all the blessings the Lord has for the church -- he says "finally.'' Finally what? What is the last thing, the important thing that he has to add in this epistle. He says,

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.'' (Eph 6:10)
Power of his might -- these two words are interesting words. If you pass over them quickly, you might miss it. But if you want to look into the meaning of "power'' and "might,'' in a spiritual sense, what does it mean? St. Paul says, "be strong in the Lord''. Be strong in the Lord, "and in the power of his might.'' One translation of this kind of might is the strength, the inward strength that comes to every sanctified believer, the strength, the abiding strength, and the strength of stability that is within every believer because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. It's called in the scripture, "might,'' and we might say then that every sanctified believer has a might within him, the might of the Lord, the strength of the Lord which is very mighty, and the power.

Power, the sanctified believers are given power, and this power is a strength that is in operation that comes through the Holy Spirit. It is a power that is in operation all day long, all the time, and comes through the Holy Spirit. So St. Paul says "be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.'' And so that is a lot of energy, spiritual energy there we're talking about. The Lord does not run out of energy. There may be an energy crisis in every other way, oil, coal, all these things that you can think about; but there is no energy crisis when it comes to the Lord. ". . .in the power of his might.''

So we are all encouraged to be strong, and to use this energy that is from the Lord. What is it to be directed for or toward? It is to be used so that we will be able to stand against the whiles of the devil. And in addition to this power and might that comes from the Lord, we are to put on the armor that He has provided for us.

Now our danger is not in the people that we meet every day. Some mistakenly think that if someone says an ugly thing about you or to your face, or says something that hurts you and may bring the tears, -- someone may say, "It's your fault. You did this thing to me.'' or "You offended me.'' or "You hurt me.'' or "You are stumbling me.'' -- St. Paul has a revelation here from the Lord, and he prayed that those who received this epistle, the Ephesians, would understand, and all who read it would understand and have a revelation about this. It isn't the person who's saying this to you who is guilty. He is not the one who is trying to destroy your soul. The guilty one is the enemy. He is the one who put these thoughts in you neighbor's mind and heart; he is the instigator of all of this cruelty and wicked talk, harmful devices whatever they might be -- they all come from Satan.

What is more, Satan uses forces that we can't see with the naked eye. St. Paul had information on this. The Lord revealed it to him that we, our enemy is

...not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.'' (Eph 6:12b)
". . .In high places.'' This is a phrase that St. Paul uses, perhaps five times to the Ephesians. And sometimes he calls it the heavenlies, or up in heaven, up somewhere out of what might be our reach, but not out of the reach of Satan. So our enemy is the one who is leading against us, all of these forces of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places. It is Satan and the wicked spirits and the wicked angles that are his helpers. We have places in the scripture that help us understand this. We have at least two places that give us an insight into what goes on in the heavenlies, and what we mean by Satan working in that area and working against us.

Daniel

One very particular instance is in the book of Daniel, the tenth chapter. We find that Daniel had had a revelation from the Lord, a great and mighty revelation about the end times and about the Jews, and also about the antichrist. And he said it made him ill for several days. He could hardly stand it. And then he prayed; he prays a wonderful prayer. He is concerned about his people, about the Jews. He prays this prayer -- we read it in the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, beginning with the fifteenth verse:
And now, O Lord, our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.

Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ear and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. (Dn 9:15-19)

After the vision that Daniel had had, and a look into the future and the terrible things that are to come about on the earth, he prays for Jerusalem. You just heard his prayer, "Oh Lord, Oh Lord!,'' he prays. "Won't you forgive?'' and so forth.

You must read the book of Daniel to know all the things the Lord revealed to him, the prophecies, some which have been fulfilled, some which we are waiting breathlessly for that we know will be fulfilled, and in the short future the prophecies of the great tribulation judgments -- all of this the Lord showed Daniel.

He showed him about the Antichrist. What will the Lord do for Jerusalem, and what will he do for the Jews? Daniel prayed and pleaded with the Lord and then he waited for the answer. And he waited, and he waited, and he waited. And the Bible says (Dn 10:3) he waited twenty-one days, twenty-one days, and then at the end of twenty-one days he had the most marvelous vision of Jesus, great and wonderful vision. He tells about it,

I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen . . . and his body was like beryl and his face as the appearance of lightening, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. (Dn 10:5-6)
We know that this is Christ.

Part of this vision was beheld also by John the Revelator (cf Rev 1:13-15) and recorded in the first chapter of the book of Revelation. Same description of Jesus. Well, Daniel said (Dn 10:7) that only he saw this vision. The men that were with him saw nothing. They didn't see the vision. But there was a great quaking, he said, fell upon them so that they fled and hit themselves. They didn't see it but they knew and sensed the presence of Christ and they fled.

And he says,

Therefore I was left alone and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me. (Dn 10:8a)
And he said,
I retained no strength. (Dn 10:8b)
Then he heard a voice, and then he fell asleep and he woke up when a hand touched him. He says, it set him upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. (cf Dn 10:9-10)
And he said unto me, Oh, Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee. (Dn 10:11a)
Then, the words evidently came from an angel. An angel was there and had touched him, and these were the words he told Daniel. And Daniel says (cf Dn 10:11b) I stood trembling while he talked to me, and the voice said, (Dn 10:12a) "Fear not.'' And He says that you prayed and did set thine heart to understand and to chasten thyself before God, He said, thy words were heard. And he said, I was sent with an answer to your prayer. But, he said, the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days. So this angel was held up by Satan who inspired the Persians with their wickedness -- Satan himself withstood him. (cf Dn 10:12-13) And he says, "Lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the later days.'' (Dn 10:13b-14a)

And so here is something that goes on in the heavenlies. This is what we need strength for: to have faith and to be strong and hold on and trust the Lord, because we have an enemy that works against us. And there are rulers of darkness in this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places, and the enemy would dare to try to intercept an answer coming from the Lord or being sent from the Lord. Indeed the enemy did intercept this answer for twenty-one days, although the Lord heard and sent the answer the first day. So we want to be strong and have power and might to be strong against this kind of an enemy that works and we don't see him work. We can't see him with the naked eye, and we may pray and wonder, why doesn't the Lord answer prayer and why hasn't He heard me. Well, He has and it may be the enemy or the powers of spiritual wickedness in high places that are holding up the answer to your prayer.

Job

Something else that happened in the heavenlies has to do with our good friend and inspiration Job. How many times his life has been an inspiration to all of us! We think of Job, and think, well, if Job would hold on and be true to the Lord, and not sin with his mouth, and if Job could say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him,'' (Job 13:15) with all he went through, then can't we hold on a little bit and stand a little bit of persecution or suffering or trial, whatever it might be?

Well, Job did not know what was going on in high places, what kind of workings Satan was bringing against him and what kind of influence he was trying to bring against Job. But Job was the Lord's, and Job belonged to the Lord, and the Lord used him. He even said to Satan, have you noticed my servant Job? Job could be relied on because he was steady. He loved the Lord, and he was not going to doubt the Lord, and the Lord knew his heart. You read in the very first chapter how all these things happened to come to Job. Did the Lord put this kind of suffering on him? Did the Lord make him sick? Did the Lord take away his possessions? Did the Lord cause his wife to tell him to curse the Lord and die? No, it was Satan.

We find out in the sixth verse of the first chapter that there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. It is believed that this was somewhere in high places and Satan has freedom just now of the air and the earth and the regions below the earth. Satan is traveling all around and the Bible says he came amongst them. And the Lord spoke to him, where have you been, and whence comest thou, where did you come from? And he answered the Lord, from going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it. Well, if he had been going up and down in the earth, the Lord says, in your travels have you noticed, have you considered my servant Job that there's none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man? Satan answered the Lord and said, well do you think he serves you for nothing? He's getting something out of it. He knows you have put a hedge around him and he knows that you're taking care of him and you're at his side. You've blessed the work of his hands and his substance is increased. (cf Job 1:6-10)

And so Satan said, touch him. Let me touch him and you'll see, he'll doubt. So the Lord says, he is in your power, but only upon himself put not thine hand. Well, Job did not doubt the Lord when he lost all of his possessions and lost his sons and daughters. The four corners of the house fell on them and they were dead. Job did not doubt the Lord, or he did not sin, or charge the Lord foolishly. (Job 1:11-22)

Then Satan made another suggestion. He says (Job 2:5), of course, but let me touch his body, make him sick, they he will doubt. And the Lord said, yes, but you can not kill him. Well, you know how Satan did all he could to destroy faith in the Lord in that man, and yet he sinned not. He was steady. He had the power and the might that we are talking about. So St. Paul writing here to the Ephesians -- we don't have time to go into this as we would like this time, and I think we're going to have to spend another period together on this lesson -- but St. Paul says, "Take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, stand.'' (Eph 6:13)

An Evil Day

We might say a word about this evil day. It does not have reference to the judgment or even the time of tribulation. It has reference to the day when Satan may come against us, or some of his evil forces, or the rulers of darkness, as the Bible calls them. We may have an evil day when Satan will come against us, or we may have evil days, maybe one after another. It is possible to stand through the might and the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord has made provision, and armor for us. We will talk about that later. But there is no reason to doubt the Lord. And I believe it helps us to hold on and have faith and trust Him when we understand a little bit of the workings of Satan against us, and how although we have no idea what he may be saying about us, what may be going on in the heavenlies against us, what he may be bringing against us, that the Lord is on our side, and the Lord will bring us through victorious whatever the struggle may be if we hold on to Him, we have faith, we put on the armor of God that we may be able to stand against the fiery darts of the enemy.

May the Lord bless you and won't you look up and be encouraged whether your problem is physical of some kind of battle or a fierce temptation, find your strength and power in Jesus Christ and in His Spirit. May the Lord bless you! and I thank you.


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