Text: Luke 22:31-32

1.0 We’re in a War (Eph. 6:10-18)!

Eph. 6:10-12-”Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

1.1 Don’t be infected with spiritual HIV-High Indifference Virus! There are 4 symptoms:

  • Disinterest in the fight
  • Disbelief in the fight
  • Discouraged by the fight
  • Disdain for the fight
  • Disinterest in the fight

Story: On Tuesday, June 25, 2014 a young mother was attacked and viciously beaten in front of her two-year-old son while a dozen adults watched. The attacker-a female co-worker at the neighborhood McDonald’s-broke Catherine Ferreira’s nose and repeatedly punched and kicked her giving her a concussion, two black eyes, and numerous cuts and bruises. All this violence was over alleged rumors of workplace gossip. The dozen adult onlookers simply used their cellphones to record the 54-second beating. Only one person went to the rescue of Catherine, her two-year old son, Xzavion Ortiz.

  1. Disbelief in the fight

Note: Do we have a real spiritual enemy named Satan?

  • In 2005 six out of ten adults (60%) say that the devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil, compared to 58% in 2001.
  • In 2005 46% of born again Christians deny Satan’s existence compared with 45% in 2001.
  • Slightly more than seven out of ten Catholics (73%) say the devil is non-existent and only a symbol of evil. (2005).

source: http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=TopicandTopicID=6; accessed: August 12, 2005. Topic: Beliefs-Trinity, Satan.

  1.  Discouraged by the fight;
  2.  Disdain for the fight

Luke 22:31-32-”Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers”

2.0 How Did Jesus Fight?

2 Cor. 10:3-4-”For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2.1 Peter was oblivious to Satan’s preying on him.

  1.  Jesus wasn’t.
  2.  Satan already had Judas.
  3.  If Peter was taken out, the rest of the disciples may possible topple a lot easier.

2.2 Satan’s attack was aimed at Peter’s faith.

  1. Satan wanted to sift him like wheat.
  2. Wheat was separated by shaking it while on a coarse sieve. The kernels would fall though the holes into a container while the debris-stone, chaff, and other unwanted stuff would be discarded.
  3. His faith would go through severe testing.

Luke 22:31-32-”Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers”

2.3 Jesus used the weapon of prayer.

  1.  Jesus could have summoned 12 legions of angels.

Note: That is what He said to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane

Matt. 26:53-”Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels”?

Then it would’ve appeared like He needed help beyond prayer.

Summoning angels would have given Satan a wrong perception of himself.

Fact: A Roman legion in Jesus’ day had roughly 5,400 soldiers. Twelve legions would mean that Jesus could have easily summoned 64,800 angels to fight against Satan.

  1. Jesus chose to use the weapon of prayer.
  2. He prayed for Peter.

Note: When Jesus told Peter, ”I have prayed for you,” He was also saying: ”I have brought you and the problems you’re about to face into the very presence of God. In prayer, I have surveyed your needs. In prayer, I have discovered a strategy to thwart the enemy’s plans.” Jesus then declared: ”I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.” The focal point of Jesus’ prayer was the protection of Peter’s ”faith”. His prayer was concentrated, topical and strategic.

He surveyed Peter’s needs in prayer.

In prayer He locked in on the need to pray for Peter’s faith.

Prayer gives you strategy.

Psalm 86:7-David confidently sang, ”When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.”

Prayer gives us home court advantage.

We are familiar with the court, with the fans, with the atmosphere-the acoustics and lighting, etc.

Heb. 12:1-”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

  1. We should fight there-the place of prayer!

Note: We must bring our spiritual enemies into the presence of God. Fight them there! Pray about them there! Survey them there! Get strategy there! Win the battle there!

 


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About The Author

David Ireland is the lead pastor of Christ Church, a multi-site multiracial congregation in New Jersey. Ireland serves as a diversity consultant to the NBA and also leads chapel services for the New York Giants, New York Jets, and the U.S. Pentagon. He has written over twenty books and appeared on The Dr. Phil Show, CBS Evening News, and The 700 Club. He began his career in civil engineering with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering (Farleigh Dickinson University) and a graduate degree in civil engineering (Stevens Institute of Technology). Later he attended seminary, earning a master’s degree in theology (Alliance Theological Seminary) and a doctorate in organizational leadership (Regent University). He and his wife Marlinda married in 1984 and have two daughters.

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