Pulling Down the Strongholds – Part 1

2 Cor 10:3-6

 

On June 6, 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower made a pivotal decision when he decided to send 155,000 American & Allied  troops to storm the beaches of France to break down the Stronghold of Nazi Germany.

 

As they landed on the shores, the enemy, already entrenched, began to fire round after round on those 155,000 brave soldiers. Ten thousand men lost their lives at Omaha Beach on that bloody, brutal day.

 

Yet the Allied soldiers kept coming — wave after wave after wave — until they took the strongholds, the high towers from which the Nazi soldiers fired.

Had the Allies failed, Germany would have dominated Europe, and possibly the world militarily. But their success insured eventual victory.

 

It has been said that The greatest military invasion in the history of the world took place on D-Day.

 

 

But an infinitely greater invasion took place the day God invaded this world in the Person of Jesus Christ.

A)The repercussions from the Sacrifices & Bloodshed on the Beaches of France on that day were Monumental

1) But they were nothing compared to THE RESULTS of the sacrifice and blood- SHED at Calvary.

 

B) See Satan’s plan of nailing Jesus to the Cross totally backfired because his  foothold on Humanity was Broken forever that day.

1)because the blood of Jesus paid the price for the sin of all men, Satan’s foothold is obliterated.

 

 

Interesting that When the Allied invasion succeeded, Hitler and the Nazis  in Berlin knew their days were numbered.

A)They knew they didn’t have a chance — but they continued fighting to the bitter end.

 

B) This explains the reason that although the outcome of the war was determined on June 6,

1) more blood was shed in the year following the victory at Normandy than at any other time in history.

 

C) So too, Satan knows he doesn’t have a chance. He knows that the grasp he had on man is gone. He knows his time is running out.

1)Yet so deep is his hatred of God that he wants to take as many down w/ him as possible

 

Now for the believer in JC / Jesus declared from the Cross It is finished, For us the - The victory is won. - Although the war goes on

A) But we do not fight FOR victory. We fight FROM victory. We are in a battle / daily skirmishes– but we have Victory in Christ

 

B) SO we are fighting not for Victory – but from a Position of Victory as we rely upon the Lord for our Strength & Provision

 

C) Now In Ephesians 6:12 Paul identifies the nature of this battle we are in - For we wrestle 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.

 

D) Which is why he declares here in our text v.3 that we do not War according to our Flesh – Not a fleshly battle

1)   Not w/ spouse / Boss / your Heathen neighbor / Govt institutions – But the Battle is Spiritual – Satan & his Demonic forces

 

E) Peter put it this way I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.

Note Peter identifies Satan not as the adversary, but as your adversary..

A)‘Your adversary’ means you have a personal enemy might not be Satan himself – but a few of his minions – Fallen Angels

 

B) But know this he has a specific plan to manipulate you and rob you of joy, power, and your ability to influence others.

1) Last thing he wants is for you to make an impact in this world – so he is going to try his hardest to get you distracted & bound up in this life

 

C) See as believers Satan  can’t possess our hearts. But there’s still a battle going on for the mind.

1) The spirit is secure/ but the soul the mind, emotions, and will — is still up for grabs.

 

D)  Satan is constantly trying to lay hold of lost ground in our lives – by infiltrating our minds – thru what Paul calls in Eph 6 Fiery darts /

1) More Accurately those flaming missiles – { Thoughts that come flooding into our lives – out of the Blue

 

E) This explains how I can be driving down the road, enjoying the day, when suddenly a thought will come into my mind,

1) or an attitude into my heart which causes me to say, ‘Where in the world did that come from?’ It didn’t come from this world. It came from hell.

 

F) But each time I give in to a temptation to sin, each time I succumb to an attitude or an activity I know is wrong,

1) I open the door for Satan to form a Stronghold in an area of my heart / I give him an opportunity to lay claim to that which Christ has made free.

 

But that doesn’t have to be the case which is why Paul declares here

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

A)Now For the rest of our time today I want us to talk about Our weapons of Warfare – { Not fleshly but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds

 

B) Wed. night we talked about this in a general sense – Society as a whole – Weapons of our warfare – Pulling down strongholds in Society

1)   Paul Preached the gospel in Ephesus – the impact was so great the idol makers almost went out of Business – { Huge Impact}

 

C) Major Stronghold was broken – Affects of Revival – Strongholds of the enemy are broken down in society –

 

D) Today I want to consider this on more of a personal note: How do we tear down the strongholds that Satan seeks to re-erect in our lives

1) How Bring every thought into the Captivity of the obedience of Christ

 

 

Start by discussing what is a stronghold & has does one get re-erected in our hearts.
 A)The word ’stronghold’ means "to harden, or to make hard." It describes an entrenchment, or fortress.

 

B) Thus, in the spiritual life, Paul is speaking of a hard place. He is speaking of an unbending place.

1)   He is speaking of an entrenchment, or a fortress fought over. He is speaking of an area contended for.

 

C) Therefore, a stronghold is any place in our life that seems to be an area of contention.

1)   It is any thing that poses a threat to our spiritual progress.

 

D) It is any person, place, predicament, or problem that hinders us, harbors us, hinders us, or holds us in its clutches,

1)   and impedes us from our full potential in Christ.

 

E) How does a Stronghold get set up:

James 1:13-16

 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

A)Within our flesh lies the capacity for ever sort of Sin & evil imaginable – Usually what happens Satan plants a thought in our minds

 

B) If we give any place in our thought life it becomes a desire / if we continue to dwell on that thought – it  is conceived

1)   Conception gives place to sin/ sin continues – grows – full grown death

Death to your intimacy w/ God / Family / Body of Christ

 

C) Adam & Eve – naked & not ashamed { After the Fall – they knew they were naked – exposed – felt need to cover up – Sin does destroys intimacy

1)   Marriage / With Lord / With Friends –

 

Example of how this Happens: Guy is at the office – catches a female co – worker staring at him / being overly friendly

A)Satan plants the seed – I think she is interested in you – she thinks your hot { your wife would never know

 

B) Now if give some place to that – thought – I wonder what it would be like / The attention is kind of nice { That can become a desire

1) Turns into something he is thinking about from time to time – Now it is conceived – conception has taken place { Only time abortion is permitted

 

C) Conception gives place to sin – It wouldn’t hurt to go to lunch – maybe I could witness to her / [ if believer] encourage her in the Lord – Yea innocent

1)   Now sharing your heart w/ someone other than your wife { Sin is growing { Leads to adultery – Destroys families / etc

 

D) The Starting place of the Stronghold of Satan in your heart was when you gave that thought – the time of day – allowed it to be conceived

1)   Satan was saying – We’ve got him – only be a matter of time until he is  another Casualty of the War

Now as a Pastor the most common Strongholds that I see that get formed in a believers life are these

A)Bitterness{ Hurt – thought of revenge or disdain – thought that says they hurt you & you deserve to feel this way:

 

B) Again natural desire is self preservation{ Satan plays into that – thought becomes a desire / I have a right to be mad / not forgive

1)   Now sinning – Jesus commands us to forgive – { Brings forth death } Root of Bitterness – many to be Defiled

 

C) Fear: Another Stronghold – Fear of Failure / fear of rejection / fear of making a mistake in ministry :

1) Stronghold of the enemy where we are not allowing the Lord to use us

 

 

Another is Jealousy: So worried about others – what they are doing – I wanted to do that – can’t do that not doing anything{ Stronghold

A)Jealousy in the sense so focused on the gifts of others – you feel so inferior – God can’t use me – never make yourself available – Stronghold

 

B) Another is materialism: Focused on the things of this world –

1)   Stronghold of Distraction –

 

C) Another is: A  Extreme desire to please others: Stronghold of the enemy in your life – so worried about what others think – pleasing them

1)   Keeps you from doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord – Keeps you from having right priorities & making stands when you should

 

D) Finally : Sexual Lust: Leads to Porn / Adultery / Perversion

1)   Open door thru an R-rated movie / or internet site – leads to great destruction: Stronghold in the mind

 

Listen to What Solomon says of the Seductress / Prov 6 & 7

A)She reduces a man to a crust of Bread – in other word he is just a shell of what he once was { Thru her influence he destroys his soul

B) She wounds & brings dishonor – to his life – So Solomon says in Ch.7

25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths;  26 For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men.  [ Leave themselves unguarded / unaccountable]

27 Her house is the way to hell,Descending to the chambers of death.

 

C) That is a very common stronghold that SATAN is using today on both men & women: Internet – Chat rooms / Porn /

1)   In appropriate relationship at work – or even in the Church

 

So those are some common Strongholds – how they get erected in a Christians life – How can they be pulled down: 5 Weapons

A)WEAPON #1 – The Word : In Eph 6 Paul talks about the Armour of God – Two references to the Word

 

B) Belt of Truth: & the Sword of the Spirit which he clearly defines as the word of God

1) The Belt of Truth is a defense weapon – used for combating deflecting the fiery darts { Sword of the spirit is for offense – Counter attack

 

C) The Belt of Truth is about: Appropriating the Scriptures – to keep the Strongholds & Imaginations from taking root – Classic Illustration Rom 6

 

The Theme of Romans 6 is the truth that the believer is dead to sin & alive to God 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

 

A)The body of sin / influence of sin – Satan’s power to use our flesh to control us – get us to do what we don’t want to do – done away w/

1)   Done away w/ is not annihilated – but rendered inactive

 

B) Bobby Knight  Crazy B- ball coach – Yelling Screaming in face throwing balls at you: If I am on the team – Subject to that – Submit to that

1)   Off the team – Bobby can yell at me all he wants – his power has been rendered in active in my life { Courson – Paralyzed Bully }Intimidate

C) That is the truth – Satan’s Power in our life has been paralyzed – only power he has is what we give him – { Power of Intimidation

1)   So I attack the stronghold by applying the Belt of Truth to that situation { Not in Bondage – Power is Broken } Knowing this….

 

D) Notice what Paul says next: v.11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Reckon is an accounting term: Add of the facts and see that it is so

A)Reckon that is an absolute fact -

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

 

B) Because that is the truth: I am going to further break down the Stronghold of Satan – instead of giving into my flesh

1)   Lust / fear / jealousy / bitterness/ Worldliness – thru materialization

 

C) Instead of presenting my members to those things – I am going to present myself to God Rom 8:5-6  

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

 

D) Instead of setting my mind on the things of the Flesh – things of the Spirit

1)   Key to walking in the Spirit – what is your mind focused on: R-rated movies / Sienfield / Letterman / Leno – that is where mind spent

 

E) Mind is wrapped up in Vogue / Cosmo / Playboy / - Open door to the enemy: But if your mind is set on the things of the Spirit – Word

1)   Influenced by KWAVE radio – Sanders / Chambers / Spurgeon – You are going to be more consistent in walking in the Spirit – less opportunity for the ENEMY { So that is the Belt of Truth

Also mentions the Word as the Sword of the Spirit:

A)Satan comes w/ a temptation: Combat it w/ the Word – Jesus – turn stones into bread – You are Hungry …..

 

B) Jesus Responds w/ the Sword of the Spirit – It is Written – man shall not live by Bread alone but by every word ….. of God

 

C) Important truth Only as you live by the word of God can you fight by the word of God,

1) It is only the word that you live that becomes the sword of the spirit for you.

D) That is why David refused Saul's armor (he hadn’t lived by Saul’s armor so he could not fight with Saul’s armor).

2Sam 23:9-10 One of David’s mighty men in battle named Eleazar rose up against the philistines and he smote them until his hand was weary because he  clave to the sword,
A)One definition of the word Clave is to become joined to) = To become one with.

B)When we become one with the word of God, and it lives in us and breathes in us, and it speaks through us,

1) Then we are guaranteed mighty victories.

C) Gods success strategy for Joshua in pulling down the strongholds in the land of Canaan was simple (Josh 1:8) Keep my words in front of your eyes, and keep them coming out of your mouth.
1) Another great truth : For Gods word to be the powerful effective sword of the spirit in your life it must be coming out of your mouth.

D) It was not what Jesus knew, or believed, or meditated upon that defeated Satan:

1) It was the written coming out of his mouth by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Use the sword – Quote Scripture / Live Scripture { Flee … Lust
You Know what is Sad :Some people have been saved for many years, but their sword of the spirit is about the size of a toothpick.

A)The bible is full of powerful truth that will defeat the enemy, but it is only the truth that lives in your heart that will defeat Satan in your life).

B) SO the First weapon of our warfare – Mighty – God’s word in our Heart and being lived out in our lives – The Belt of truth –

1)   God’s word coming out of our mouths- the sword of the Spirit

WEAPON #2 The Power of the Spirit { Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

A)Key to the Battle : Not my strength / my Authority – not fleshly weapons –

 

B) Problem of the Church – methods of Psychology – feel better about yourself – Confidence in your abilities / talents / experience

1) The Bible wants us fighting from a position of weakness – no strength in ourselves – { Strong in the Lord Power of His Might

 

C) That Strength comes only when I realize my dependency upon the HS

 

On Sunday nights looking at the last words of Jesus to his disciples Jn 13-17 – almost 2 whole chapters on the Spirit

A)Jesus calls Him the Helper – the one called alongside of you to strengthen you – guide you and teach – you

 

B) We read there where Jesus says – I am leaving you – but it is a good thing – didn’t leave spirit couldn’t come – He is w/ you / In you

1) But then he also says – I am in you & you in me – I will come to you

 

C) Language that can be confusing until you understand – He is coming to live in them – thru his spirit – teach them / empower them

1)   He is wanting them to live lives completely dependant upon his spirit – and it is in that Context – Jn 15 he says – W/out me do nothing

 

The point he wants to get across to these men – is You need to be 100% reliant upon me

A)But it is also interesting in that Section – He says in several places : whatever you ask in my name – do it /

 

B) In my name you will do great things – Awesome connection – Walking in the Spirit – being reliant upon the spirit –

1)   And the name of the Lord – relates to pulling down strongholds

 

C) To go forth in the name of the Lord is to go forth in His Authority and not my own – Which means  I am dependant upon Him – not me

 

D) David went out against Goliath – he said – You come w/ a sword and a spear – weapons of man – I come in the name of the Lord …..my hand

1)   A stronghold of the enemy fell that day !!!!

 

E) Elijah met the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel (in the Name of the Lord.)
Ps 118:10 All nations compassed me about: but (in the name of the LORD) will I destroy them.

Walking in the name of the Lord is synonymous w/ walking in the Spirit walking in his authority and not my own

A)In that Place there is great safety : Pr 18:10 (The name of the LORD) is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

B) When I realize the power of the foe who is against me – the last thing I want to do is to try and fight him in my strength – No way

 

C) I need the authority of Christ & the Power of His Spirit in me to give me the Victory !!!  

1)   So the Stronghold of Satan is broken – when I realize my weakness & surrender to Christ Strength & Authority

 

 

 

WEAPON #3 Praise:

A)In Acts ch.16 we see have an interesting scene that I think illustrates this point.

 

B) Paul & Silas are in Philippi – ministering – Uprising against them and they are thrown into Jail{ Rat infested – disease plagued Jail

1)   Placed in the Dungeon – locked in – locked up – For the moment Bound by the forces who were against them

 

C) It was a great opportunity for them to be destroyed both emotionally and Spiritually

1)   Temptations to question God’s care / doubt God’s love / Question their calling / Bitterness / depression / anger / fear could have set in

 

D) But it didn’t : Why? – Well we read in v.25 Ch.16 that in the Midnight hour – instead of giving into fear & doubt – Paul & Silas: Sang

1)   They Sang Hymns – “ A song of Praise addressed to God”

 

E) Something incredible happened as they did that : The Prisons doors swung open – the Stronghold of the enemy was – Broken 

1)   The Jailer who held them – ended up getting saved – He & his house

 

Listen there is Power in Praise to open Prison doors / break down the Stronghold of the enemy in our lives

A)Why is praise a Powerful weapon?  Well Satan wants to be worshipped – reason he was thrown out of heaven { Exalted above God

 

B) Satan still wants to be worshipped today: But the way that he pursues that desire is by trying to get us to exalt ourselves { glory in ourselves

1)   In doing so – he knows that – he is shifting the attention that should be given to God to us – our lives –

 

C) He is indirectly being worshipped in the process –

 

But True worship – Dethrones Self – and Exalts God

A)You are Good – not I am good – We exalt thee oh Lord – Not I exalt me – You are the Focus / Not us

 

B) True Worship : Acknowledges our dependency upon God – We can’t live w/ out Him – He is our everything

 

C) Satan hates true worship: Nails on a chalk board – Because he wants to be Worshipped – directly indirectly he doesn’t care

1)   Just as long as we are not worshipping God

 

Satan loves to use our circumstances to put us in a Dungeon of Doubt

A)He wants us to turn inward in our focus – he wants us to get discouraged – forget God –

 

B) John the B – The Dungeon of Doubt – Go ask if he is the one or should we look for another

1)   Jesus said – Go tell John what you are seeing – Lame walk/ Blind see / dead Raised

 

C) John don’t focus on what isn’t happening – focus on what is happening – what you Know to be true - That is what Paul & Silas did

1)   We are in Prison – not sure why – but God is still on the Throne – So we are going to Praise Him { Prison doors opened

 

D) When we worship the Lord in those circumstances – in the heat of the battle – put on PRAISE – the enemy flees – strongholds broken

1)   Focus on who God is – what He has DONE / what He is DOING -  THERE  IS VICTORY :

 

Sunday Nights – Seeing this happen