It is Time for an Intelligence Briefing – Part 1

 

SERMON NOTES:

It is Time for an Intelligence Briefing (Part 1)

2Co 10:3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

2Co 10:4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

2Co 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Eph 6:12  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.

There are a lot of similarities between the natural and the spiritual realms. The wisdom that you learn about one can sometimes be applied to the other. That can apply to something like the seasons of life. There are also seasons in the spiritual realm. Some are easy to navigate and others are challenging.

Personally, I have never went through a season like this where so many good solid Christians are getting hit so hard or going through dark unrelenting battles.

The enemy seems to have come in too close. He’s trying to wear Christians down. There are a lot of parallels in the natural and the spiritual realms when it comes to warfare.

If an army wants to defeat another army in a real war, or in a terrorist situation, one of the most important aspects of getting to the place of victory is to have reliable intelligence on the enemy. You need to know who your enemy really is. You need to know what his aims are. You need to know what his capabilities are. You need to know how you can counteract his plans.

A military site online advised this: “The key to success in battle is to know the mind of your opponent. If you understand their psychology, then you will know how to … control them, while avoiding being preyed upon yourself … If you find their psychological weaknesses, then you can defeat them with ease.”

Another site said this: “If you know your enemy, the strategic challenge is to use that knowledge to force him to fight on your terms.”

It is no different in spiritual warfare. Whilst the most important revelation that we can have as a believer is of the character and ability of our God, then we must know who we and are fellow man are, the Bible also exhorts us to be fully aware of the nature and tactics of the enemy.

I think this is where we often fall short.

2 Corinthians 2:11 tells us that “we are not ignorant [or unaware] of his (Satan’s) devices [or purposes or schemes]” – which is smart, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us” – which would not be smart.

While most human intelligent systems are imperfect, ours is not.

You and me have all the accurate and detailed information we need on who our enemy really is, what his capabilities are, and what his aims are for us and mankind. The Word of God is our intelligence briefing. That is why it is so important to know what this book says on a given subject.

If you are “ignorant” of Satan’s devices you will not be equipped, informed or prepared to effectively take Satan head on and resist his lies.

I know having been a police officer in Northern Ireland in a vicious terrorist war how much excellent intelligence on the enemy actually saved lives and injuries.

In fact, the first thing that happened when we come on duty was that we got a briefing in regard to what our responsibilities were for the day and an up-to-date intelligence report on what the enemy was up to.

British intelligence was incredible. They had the enemy infiltrated with informants (or spies). They also had state-of-the-art surveillance technology (some of which was in space) that could reveal what the enemy was at or was planning before they did it. That is what ultimately brought the struggle to an end. Intelligence was making it impossible for the terrorists to win.

If you are aware of the tactics of the enemy and responding accordingly, then you will be a pain in the side for Satan.

It’s easy when you are in the midst of a dark battle to forget exactly what is coming against you. You can internalize it. You can even blame things on others. But it is really smart to identify who is coming against you so that you have the ability to resist it.

Eph 6:12  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.

Remember, the enemy of our soul takes advantage of the circumstances of life. He takes advantage of our failings. He takes advantage of the failings of others. He is an opportunist. He is a strategist. He hits us where it hurts. He knows what will have maximum impact.

Satan’s main target as he tries to take you out of the game is your mind. His aim is to paralyze you there so that you will be ineffective for the Lord. His aim is to direct his fiery darts there in the hope of you receiving a lie and then embracing that lie.

The sooner we realize that not everything that goes on in our heads is us, we will be in a better place to fight back against the enemy.

It is important for us to look today at how the devil normally gets a foothold in our lives. You will probably find that most of his victories come from simply planting a thought in your mind. It is a thought that we don’t resist, uproot or cast away, which suddenly begins to grow, get out of hand and become a stronghold.

The devil’s aim is to make that lie a reality in your mind.  He works to convince us that the delusion is a fact. That is where he gets a stronghold.

What you receive is what you believe is what you become.

When Paul was concerned for the believers in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 11:3, he said, “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Paul knew where the battle field was. He knew where Satan works to deceive.

Charles F. Stanley preached a sermon: Satan’s Strategy to Defeat Us, Do you know your enemy has a plan to defeat you? He said: The devil uses deception as his key weapon. To deceive is to mislead by obscuring truth.”

You need to know: when the enemy attacks the people of God he has got underlying aims, he has a strategy, and he has a plan. His aim is to take you out of the game.

I want to list some things to you this morning that the Bible teaches just as if we were having an intelligence briefing about our arch enemy the devil before going to war.

  • The ultimate aim of the devil is to come in-between you and God

  • Satan also wants to separate you from anyone or anything that is God-ordained – that explains why He tries to divide the people of God. That is why he wants you to neglect close fellowship. He wants to isolate you from your support base. That explains why he hates marriage, Christian families and godly relationships. Divide and conquer is a major tactic of the devil.

  • He earnestly wants to stop the light of God’s Word shining upon you. He knows that is the source of enlightenment, knowledge and truth. That is where we get direction for our lives.

  • Satan wants you to be self-centered instead of Christ-centered. He wants your welfare, feelings and opinions to be important!

  • He wants you to be captivated with the problem instead of the answer.

  • He wants you to get enchanted with the things of this world (with the temporal instead of the eternal).

  • Because the devil is a deceiver, he wants you to believe the lie about anything. He will convince you that right is wrong and wrong is right, that black is white and white is black and every absolute is gray.

  • Because the devil is a destroyer, he wants to destroy every holy, godly, wholesome and righteous quality, relationship and gifting you possess.

  • He wants to make your life hell on earth.

  • He wants you to walk in defeat.

  • It is the aim of the devil to get mankind to live in a condemned state.

  • He wants you to be in bondage.

  • He wants you to be a victim rather than a victor.

  • He wants to abort the will of God for your life. He wants to stop you being who God wants you to be and doing what God wants you to do. The devil targets the call of God upon us, the giftings we possess, the purposes we are here to accomplish and resists the direction we are going.

Thankfully, we do not need to speculate what the devil’s overriding agenda is. God shows us very clearly in the Word of God what he is all about.

Jesus told us in John 10:10: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

The devil wants to destroy everything righteous, wholesome and honorable he sees. He wants to destroy you, your marriage, your family, the Church, your intimacy with God, your mind, your hope in God, the vision of God within you, the call of God on your life, your peace, your joy, and your purpose for living, etc, etc. He wants to render you impotent and make you a victim of life.

Charles F. Stanley said: a satanic attack [is] … a deliberate, willful assault by Satan upon an individual for the purpose of doing harm in the spirit, soul, or body, or all three. These attacks could come at any time or from anywhere. The devil tries to trip us up when we are at our weakest, and he knows exactly who or what to use as a lure. He often tempts us with what we do not need or should not have as he seeks to bring us down.”

Brother/sister, I think we need to establish a few absolutes if we want to counteract the aims of the evil one. The devil will only get the territory in our lives that we give him. He does not have the power to take that as a right. That is because it does not belong to him, it belongs to the Lord. We are His possession. We are His family.

The second thing that we need to establish is that there is a place of safety for God’s people where the devil cannot go. That is in the presence of the Lord. Have no illusion, the devil is not welcome there. He has no ability to come in between you and your God. What I am saying is, he is limited in his ability.

Thirdly, we belong to a God who carries the ability to do whatever He wants. He knows everything that has happened, is happening and that will happen. The devil will never blindside him. The devil will never defeat him. The devil will never thwart His purposes. He is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. The truth alone should give you comfort this morning in the midst of your trial.

So, here is the kicker, when we get real for God, when we get on a war footing, when we get our guard up, when we align with God, when walk according to His will, Satan cannot defeat us.

There are so many Christians going through tough experiences at the moment. Some are going through real dark testing trials. It sometimes seems like the enemy is winning. But he cannot win when we align with God.

God is not obliged to show you why He is letting you go through dark experiences in life.

  • He expects us to trust Him in the midst of the trial.

  • He expects us to know He is doing right, and cannot do wrong.

  • He expects us to believe what He is telling us – in His Word.

  • He wants us to have a confidence in His ultimate overriding wisdom in regard to the experience and the timing of what we are going through.

We can sing and praise God all we want with our hands raised to heaven about believing God and trusting Him in everything that we go through but the rubber meets the road when we are in a dark trial and we actually have to implement what we are professing.

We do need to know from Scripture and from experience that these things end up making us stronger, wiser and smarter. They mature us in our faith. They humble us which is always a good thing, they develop our faith, they cause us, to lean upon him and they make us sensitive and sympathetic to the needs of others around us.

They show us our own weakness, selfishness, inability, foolishness and fragility. They show us His wisdom, power and sovereign ability.

Basically, the deep dark trials make us more effective ministers of this great Gospel.

Remember, without a battle there is no victory, without a victory there is no testimony, without a testimony there is no ministry.

I know from talking to many Christians and different pastors recently that they are going through the most intense battle of their lives.

Let us establish something very important: God could’ve stopped this attack against you if He wanted to. Amen? Nothing happens without him causing or permitting it. This has therefore come for a particular reason. It has come for a profitable reason. After all, ‘all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose’. It has come to ultimately bless you. It has come to glorify God.

Even though it does not feel pretty at the moment, you can be absolutely 100% sure that God is allowing this to make you a more potent believer.

So how do we respond?

  1. Get close to the Lord.

  2. Enlightenment

  3. Protect your mind

  4. Resist what is being thrown at you

  5. Remove the existing junk

  6. Employ the Word to injure the devil

Get close to the Lord

Stay close to the Lord. That is where we are safe. That is where we see Satan for who he is – a defeated foe.

Enlightenment

Enlightenment is half the battle. Being informed about what we are dealing with is actually part of the victory. Bringing things into the light is often a major turning point for someone in the midst of a dark battle.

Psalms 119:130 affirms, “The entrance of thy words giveth light.”

Once the light shines in the darkness must go. This is what exposes the enemy, and he doesn’t like that.

Protect your mind

The next thing is to protect your mind. I am here this morning to exhort you to guard your mind. Filter what you receive. Test it by the Word of truth!

Because the mind is the special target of the devil, Scripture admonishes us to fortify it. 1 Peter 1:13 says, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.”

The idea in this text is that the mind needs protected. It is so important to discipline your thought life.

Christians have to filter what they receive and where they receive counsel. If it is not in line with the Word of God then you need to let it go.

What is more, we need to move on from what we feel to what we know. That will get rid of a lot of anxiety in our lives.

Charles F. Stanley instructs: Satan is a liar who stands against the truth of God’s Word. Yet for those of us who belong to Christ and believe His Word, it is our greatest protection against the enemy’s lies. When we fill our minds with Scripture and live according to its principles, Satan’s schemes lose their power over us.”

I know that we live in a dark world, and I know that we live in a dark day, and many Christians lament about being born into such a day, but we struggle to confront the darkness in the spiritual and dispel it as a believer. Protecting your mind from the darkness is smart.

Resist what is being thrown at you

I think we find that truth in that simple verse in James 4:7, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Resist what?

Whatever he is throwing at you that does not conform to the truth of God. Remember, this is a spiritual battle. The battle will only be won in a spiritual way.

I have said many times: This word “flee” in the original Greek means to vanish or disappear. Now think about it. When you resist, he must disappear. The best way to illustrate this is: what happens to the darkness when the light is switched on?

  • Satan loses when you stand against him, and refuse to receive what he tries to foist upon you.

Remove the existing junk

2Co 10:4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

2Co 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

To enter into spiritual victory, you must pull down everything that is not of God and that does not accord with His Word. Every doubt, every fear, every sin, every hurt, every judgmental thought and every bit of unforgiveness must be evicted.

Brother/sister, if you are looking for offence in others, you’ll find it. If you are looking for faults in others, you’ll find them. What results from this plague is a persecution complex. Whilst pride is at the center of the problem, fear is the fuel that feeds this victim mentality.

Employ the Word to hurt the devil

When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, He responded with “It is written,” followed by a passage of Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11).

The offensive weapon that we possess to defeat the devil is this Book. Never underestimate it. If someone else is in a battle and you want to lift them out of it, quote the Word of God. Ultimately, nobody can argue with that. If someone has an issue with the Word, they have an issue with God.

This Book is given to us as an offensive weapon.

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunderof soul and spirit … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

In conclusion, you need to realize that when Satan attacks you, he is attacking Christ. This is not a smart thing to do. You need to know who is for you. You need to know that He has invested a lot in you. You are His child. You belong to Him. You need to know He has the ability to stop this at any times if He wishes. You need to know that His heart is toward you, not against you. You need to know that He has an overriding reason for letting such things come across your path. You need to know that this will one day work out as a blessing for you and will bring glory to the Lord.

Written by Pastor Paul Malcomson. Preached on 2/26/23 @ Light of the World Gospel Ministries church in Walthill, NE.