2 Corinthians 10:1-4
Our world is in a serious condition. It is I trouble. Each of you must have asked yourself at some time, “What can I do about these problems that are so widespread and serious these days?” And, “How helpful can I really expect to be as an individual?” We need to get serious about the spiritual war.
The origin of the spiritual war began when Satan revolted against God tried to take the place of God and persuaded millions of angels to join him. This is when the great revolt began. It began with the rebellion of Satan in heaven. It was a no contest the created thing could not destroy the Creator. Satan and the fallen angels were cast out of heaven. God could have cast Satan and his angels out of heaven. Satan then persuaded the woman to revolt against God on earth. This started at the dawn of civilization. The origin of human war began when mankind “From whence cometh wars come they not from among you from your own members.” The spiritual war is something more sinister and has eternal ramifications. However billions and billions of years before, God designed a way ago to take care of man’s failure. This plan begins humanly speaking at the cross.
War means “fight”, “tumult” to bring perplexity and confusion. It brings violence, massacres and mayhem. It is an organized and often prolonged conflict that is carried out by two or more groups. In the case of the spiritual war it was God and the Holy angels and Satan and the fallen angels. God could have cast Satan and his angels out of heaven. Satan then persuaded the woman to revolt against God on earth. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace. Jesus said men will cry “Peace, peace, but there will be no peace.” He told us in the last days there would be wars and rumours of wars. The 2nd world war 60-70 million died, the Mongol wars 30 million died, in the civil war in China 20 million died 1850 to 1864, the 1st world War 20 million died, in the Sino-Japanese war 1937–1945 -20 died, in the Russian revolution 5 million died. Then there are the millions in the wars between Arab countries, African countries, the Israeli wars.
The Situation the world is In
God ordained nations and gave them borders. Nationalism is Gods way of protecting the human race from collecting together under one head other than God. He has divided various it up into racial, linguistic and geographical backgrounds. To have it any other way would eventually bring tyranny. Hitler tried this, communism tried this, many throughout history have tried but God has always removed such kings and kingdoms. Internationalism is Satan’s attempt to be absolute ruler of this world. He does it through politics, religion banking and any from of an international system. It is because the world has rejected Gods plan it finds itself in a mess and will go on groping in the dark for things that is not there, there is no peace without the Prince of peace.
In war there is a theatre, a place in which it is held. There are weapons, tactics, strategy, organisation, information, and logistics. There are foot soldiers, engineers, rank, and officers and some of these perform heroics and are given honours and distinguishing medals. The Apostle Paul was such a leader.
We are designed to fight the battle of faith. Many get weary in the battle, a number give up, some give in, some turn back some go AWOL. We are called to prepare for war and engage in it. We have been given spiritual weapons that are designed to pull down strongholds, we have been completely furnished unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:17). We have enough information about the enemy to bring him down. We have sufficient guidance in the Scriptures to enable us to handle the problems and questions we face in life.
The Situation Paul Was In
2 Corinthians 10:1-4
In chapter 10-13 Paul goes to war against rebellion. False teachers had emerged in Corinth who were assaulting Paul and assaulting the gospel. They wanted to teach doctrines of demons and to destroy Paul’s reputation with the people who trusted him. They began a smear campaign against Paul saying he had no authority as an apostle and committed character assignation regarding him. This is still going on today. There are many today who object and reject his words today. When Paul heard the people had lost trust in him he went into war mode and into action. He wrote to them a letter a Severe Letter, and attacked the apostates and false teachers. He refers to it in chapter 2 and verse 4.
Some of these Corinthians were angered by Paul’s letter to them and resisted strongly what he had said. They accused him of getting them to do what he wanted. They were saying, he is simply another religious figure who is playing the old game of “power politics,” so we do not need to pay any more attention to him than we would to anyone else who came in and tried to take advantage of us for his own purposes.
Paul The Soldier Talks About War
Vs 1-2 Paul knew what his enemies were saying about him. They said he can talk big when he writes a letter but he’s not so bold face to face. These people were wrong, he was not a cringing, yellow bellied boaster. They mistook his humbleness for weakness instead of grace. They believed themselves to be stronger and proud they were not humble. Paul cornered them when he associated himself with the “…meekness and gentleness of Christ” (11:29). He demolished their argument. Little did they know they were not dealing with a weak man but one of the most remarkable Christian soldiers ever.
A Soldiers Plea
Vs 2 “But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.” The “…some”, refers to the critic, the false prophet, the super apostles who were trying to lead the church away from the truth needed to be confronted and that is what Paul is doing. He confronts them. They fancied themselves as great leaders but did not believe in suffering, to them it was always victory, so called binding the spirits with their false theology. To them God can’t be using you because you are ill, are poor, are not charging big money for preaching. Corinth never changed under their doctrines and it is the same with false spiritual warfare teaching today. Our city has not become better after all the spiritual mapping and chasing out the demons in city hall or parliament, we have got worse. Only the gospel changes people and cities. That’s what happened when Paul and the apostles went into villages and town and citied s in the Book of Acts.
Paul begins in this section talking about a warfare, about battle. He faced this battle every day of his life and at the end of his life could say, “I have fought the good fight.” He had been in the war bore the mark of battle physically, spiritually and mentally throughout his life. He had suffered had been wounded had been attacked by friends and foe, had been left for dead, had been deserted, had been maligned, was opposed in his ministry and been the brunt of harsh words. He did not live in ease on millionaire row with his own private jet and $12 million home. He never got the Iron cross for bravery in battle, he never got on the popular TV shows. He never got an acknowledgement of achievement. But he put his life on the line for Christ. He continued to fight for the cause of Christ. What cause are you fighting for? Some of Gods people are caught up in fighting for animal rights, or social reform or a political agenda but would never speak out for their Lord. They fight for a flag, a country, and that is not wrong, but their first priority is to fight the spiritual war. They will not battle with the demons and their doctrines. He confronted strong and evil and religious men. He took command over demons and cast them out. He exposed and fought against false teachers. He ripped open and exposed the false philosophies of men and showed how flawed they were. He confronted false religions. He faced those intent on murdering him. He identified the wolves that came in sheep’s clothing trying to devour the church. The battle was relentless and he never gave up. In fact he won victory after victory. But he got wounded along the way. There was a price to pay. He was a soldier of the cross. He said “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” His body was full of scars from whip marks, his back being beaten with the rods, he had the scars from being stoned and left for dead. The chain marks on his ankles and legs. Then there were the mental scars. The scars of those who had falsely accused him, those who gossiped about him, those who spread false rumours and lies about him. Then there was the spiritual scars of wrestling for souls. And you thought you had it bad! You thought you were the only one going through difficult times in the Christian life. Take heart here’s a man who went through hell and back and triumphed in the Lord.
What Kind of Soldier Are You?
CT Studd once preached about a true soldier. “Every true soldier is a hero! A SOLDIER WITHOUT HEROISM IS A CHOCOLATE SOLDIER! Who has not been stirred to scorn and mirth at the very thought of a Chocolate Soldier? In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their heart’s desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldier’s vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes him a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength, and vigour of a hero.
EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SOLDIER—of Christ—a hero “par excellence!” Braver than the bravest—scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger, and death, whom he counts among his bosom friends.
THE OTHERWISE CHRISTIAN IS A CHOCOLATE CHRISTIAN! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. “Sweeties” they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.
“I must be carried to the skies
On a flowery bed of ease,
Let others fight to win the prize,
Or sail thro’ bloody seas.
Mark time, Christian heroes,
Never go to war;
Stop and mind the babies
Playing on the floor.
Wash and dress and feed them
Forty times a week.
Till they’re roly poly—
Puddings so to speak.
Round and round the nursery
Let us ambulate,
Sugar and spice and all that’s nice
Must be on our slate.”
The Unique Spiritual Warfare
Vs 3 “For though we walk (or live) in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.” The Bible calls “the flesh,” and “society” or “the world.” These two are closely combined and associated.
The flesh is inherited selfishness. It is what is basically wrong with human nature. It is sin nature within us that we inherited from our ancestors. It prides itself in its achievements, its philosophies, its abilities, its boast of being able to give man all that he needs. Every human being is born with a “fleshy nature” as well as physical flesh. Everyone is tainted with its poison. It is in us we are born with it, it is not very long before it is quite apparent that we are fundamentally selfish. You do not have to teach a baby to be selfish. You do not have to send him to school to learn how to be bad, how to disobey his parents, it is in them. It does not matter if you were born in England or Africa, in the USA or Afghanistan, what your environment was, if you are black, white, yellow, red or if you were born into privileged home or a poor home or Buddhist, Jew or Christian you are tainted.
The more people you have in one place the more sin natures you have, the more problems you have. Societies make up nation and nation “the world.” When you get self-centered fleshy people in city hall or parliament the more problems you have. It is society governed by the flesh; society, with all the power structures all built upon self-interest.
When Paul said, “We are not acting like other people. We do not operate from the same motives; there is something quite different about us.
If you try to judge us on the same basis you judge others you are going to be very far off — you will miss the point entirely.”
The Unique Spiritual Warfare
Vs 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;). He is saying “For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” We live in this world, in this society, but we do not fight on those terms. We are not carrying on a worldly war but one on the spiritual level. He is saying I am in society but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles.
Paul highlights the uniqueness of Christians they are. He shows how different they are supposed to be. First, he says we live in the world. We don’t run away from it or hide from its problems and difficulties. We are realists not monks hiding behind stone walls. We have not retreated into a desert or to Shangri La. We don’t run from it we confront it, we clash with it. Our concepts, our thinking, our belief system is different. Some larger churches have tried to set up Christian communities with Christian schools and retirement homes and home built for Christian families. I once spoke at such a church that had bought 200 acres of land plus a large lake, thy done all the above and when I spoke about witnessing one of the pastors said, “I have no one to witness to, I work with Christians, I live among Christians, I socialize with Christians, I don’t meet any non-Christians”. Phew! That was an eye opener. It was to go through a Christian tomb to the tomb. No doubt the leaders meant well but it was unreal. They shut themselves off from world outside. They did not confront it or evangelize it. It gave a false out comfort and protection. They fought all evil demons and forces on the inside. It seeks to insulate and isolate as much as possible the Christian from the world. That large church were once thousands attended is no longer in existence. It is thoroughly unbiblical.
Paul says “We Christians live right in the midst of the world.” That is where we are supposed to be. Jesus said, “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves,” (Matthew 10:16). True Christianity is radical thinking it does not accept the worlds standards or evil systems. .
“No,” says the apostle, “we live in the flesh: we live in the world.” That is where we are intended to live.
Break Out of the Mould
The world is continually trying to squeeze you into its mould, it conform us to its image. To make you to be similar in form or character to them and their customs and philosophies. Paul says, Do not be conformed to this world (this age),…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind…It’s then that we find the good and acceptable will of God for our lives. (Romans 12:2).
People will always try to fit us into their mould. The world says “Imitate us, not Jesus or Paul.” Weak and insecure worldly Christians will fit in easily. Chocolate soldiers will melt in its presence. It makes life easier let someone else go to war. “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion.” You will never win a battle with the flesh with your feet up watching it on HD.
The world pushes you into a mould, it tells you what to think, how to act, what to buy, what to watch. It puts emphasis on the sensual, the sexual, upon the body, the cloths, the perfumes, the cars. In education it tells you what to believe, what to study so you can get the job you want. People are taught more about things than about understanding themselves, their gifts their souls, their spiritual attributes. Many have Doctorates but cannot relate to people. Most people think once they have a qualification that’s it. They have arrived. Is it any wonder they don’t grow? They are stagnant and stuck when they finish university.
There are tests in life when you pass them you gain momentum if you wont pass you will have to take them again. You will be tested in prosperity in hardship, in sickness and in health, in people, in attitudes in your faith in spiritual matters. These exams help to build character and stability and wisdom you will never progress until you pass. You make many decisions every day and you can learn and grow spiritually This enables you to engage in the spiritual battle with the ability to defeat the enemy.
The Christian is at war.If you want to go into battle remember the world does not fight the way you do, you don’t fight on its terms. We are not to fight it with human weapons. Christians are to live in the world, but not be like the world. The world depends upon that floating mass of human thoughts, philosophies, concepts, religions and ideas. The world cannot win the battle with Satan or sin, it cannot answer man’s greatest problems. Our weapons and methods are not natural but supernatural, spiritual.
Many Christians get caught up in social concern and the problems of society. They have genuine concerns but are fighting the enemy with the wrong weapons. They are seeking to employ the weapons of the world, which Paul renounces entirely. He says, “we do not war a worldly warfare, we do not use human plans and methods to win our battles.”
Modern man employs human ingenuity, speculations, and spin doctors to convince people the ways of the world is right. The world lies to us it mimics its father the Devil. The world puts a veneer over the real cause of our trouble, SIN. How many really truthful politicians do you know?
The Word of God tells the truth about life. It paints us exactly as we are. It proclaims and demonstrates what society really is. It is open and honest. It does not hide the historical facts about humanities failures. Jesus tells us the truth. Jesus said he was the TRUTH. He exposed man’s thoughts and inner life. Since He created us He knows us, we cannot hide from Him. He exposed the religious leaders, the scribes, the Sadducee’s, and Pharisees the rich young ruler, Matthew the tax collector, Peter’s fleshy power, Paul the educated one, Judas the deceiver. He exposes demons and Satan and his plots. He is true and wonderful and authentic and honest. It is worth while following Him.