Victory in Spiritual Warfare
1 Samuel 28:3-20
July 10-11, 2021
The focus of the message is in fact, the spiritual realm. Now, of course, we know there's the physical that which we can see and feel, and touch but there's often a spiritual reality, a spiritual battle even behind that which you see in the physical realm. In fact, those with spiritual discernment can understand that there are spiritual forces at work in the world today. We can sense that in the world in what is happening in the nations, there are tectonic shifts happening in the world that will lead to cataclysmic events of the latter days as we are drawing near and nearer to those days.
Paul describes that spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6, where he says "Our battle is not against flesh and blood that which we can see and feel and hear but it's against rulers against powers that gives world forces of darkness against spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places." Having said that, however, we also need to recognize that Jesus is preparing the church for spiritual victory. That's the very intent of the Lord that we be victorious spiritually for he then says in that same chapter, "Be strong in the Lord, be strong in the strength of his mind. Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." That's what we're going to understand as we look at these verses.
It's important to see that though Satan is strongly influencing the world. When you look at what's happening, you see as strong influence of the enemy on it but we also need to see that he's a defeated foe. Now you might say, well then why does he still fight? If he's defeated? I think one of the best illustrations of that would be this. On June 6th, 1944, when 155,000 allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy. It was the single greatest invasion in world history. From that moment forward, Hitler knew that the war would be lost but he refused to acknowledge defeat and kept fighting even to the bitter end.
It's a picture of this spiritual battle for the enemy knows that he will be defeated. He knows the scriptures as well and he knows that he will be defeated but he will fight to the bitter end, destroying as many as possible in the process. He is in fact, destroying many lives. One of the great trues of scripture, and we will see it in the verses that we're looking at today is that God is master over the spiritual realm. By the authority of Jesus. We saw this in the gospels by the authority of Jesus. He cast out at one point a legion of demons. By that same authority, Jesus will return at the end of the age and he will set things right for this is a messed up world.
At the end of the age, Jesus comes, he will set foot on the Mount of Olives. You'll enter Jerusalem to shepherd the nations with a rod of iron. He will set things right because I tell you, there is so much that's wrong in this world. Amen. There's so much, here's, what's interesting. There's so much wrong in this world. That the thing that the world thinks is good. In fact, the scripture describes woe to those. This is actually out of Isaiah 5:20. Woe to those who call evil good. That's actually the very thing that's happening today. Woe to those who call good evil, who substitute darkness for light and life for darkness who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.
Things are turned around. Things are upside down. Things are messed up. I was thinking of a lighthearted example. Today's modern world. The young generation has their own slang. I'm sure you know, every generation has their own slang. The younger generation has their own slang today. When I was growing up, we had our slang too, but our slang made sense.
Words like 'Hunky Dory', that makes sense. We understand what that means. 'Gee whiz', 'Holy smoke', 'Groovy'. That makes sense. 'Far out'. It makes total sense. Today the modern slang doesn't make sense. See if something is good, it's 'wicked'. That doesn't make sense to me. If something is good, it's 'killer', it's 'sick', it's 'bad'. If something is cool, it's hot. Things are messed up. My point is, that's just a humorous example. The point is Jesus will set things. The world system as we know it now will be destroyed. In fact, one of the ways I like to say it is this, when Jesus returns at the end of the age, the world will be under new management. I'll tell you what, that's a glorious day. Amen.
We also have to see how personal it is when Paul wrote that there are spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. He then made it personal. He made the application, be strong in the Lord in the strength of his might take up the full armor of God. He's speaking to those who would be victorious, take out the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day. Then he says having done everything to stand firm, therefore that's what God wants. That's spiritual victory.
Now in the story that we're reading in first Samuel, the enemy of Israel, the Philistines have gathered in mass in battle array to attack Israel in the Jezreel valley. Interestingly, it isn't a very valley, the very same, in which the battle of Armageddon will take place in the latter days. Now, when king saw that the camp of the Philistines had gathered, he was afraid. His heart tremendously trembled within him he had no strength, he had no courage, and he had no faith. He had no faith because he had not been walking with God for a long time.
He turns to the witch of Endor. Now, this is very important in the story is filled with insight for the spiritual victory that God wants in our lives, because it comes down to this, the soul within you. It comes down to the soul within you. It must be strengthened in the Lord to be able to stand firm in that evil day. Let's read the account of it. Fascinating story. First, Samuel 28, we begin in verse three and he begins with, you might call the back story.
Now Samuel was dead. This is important for where he's going with this story. Samuel was a prophet, very highly regarded, tremendously respected, but he's dead now. All Israel lamented him, buried him in Ramah in his own city and Saul had removed from the land those who are mediums and spiritists, this is also important backstory. Now the unfolding of the story is this. The Philistines gathered together came and camped in Shunaam, the northwest of the Jezreel valley. Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped at Gilboa and the Southeast of the Jezreel valley. Now when Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly.
When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets. Saul then said to his servants, "Seek for me, a woman who is a witch, who is a medium. I may go to her and inquire of her." He wants to go to a witch. His servant said to him, "Behold, we know where there is a witch." There is a woman who is the witch of Endor.
Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes and went he and two other men with him. They came to the woman by night. Saul said, "Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me who I shall name." The woman said, "Behold, you know what Saul has done. How he has cut off those who are mediums and spirits his from the land. Why are you then laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?" This is amazing. Saul vowed to her by the Lord, by the name of the Jehovah, the God of Israel. He says, "As the Lord Jehovah lives, there shall be no punishment. Come upon you for doing this thing." The woman said "Fine, whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me."
Between verse 11 and verse 12. We don't know all that happened. She did some séance things. Something that you would is a method of trying to connect and reach out to the dead. Whatever it was, it tells us in verse 12, that when the woman saw Samuel, she shrieked. She didn't expect to actually see the actual Samuel. When she saw Samuel, she shrieked, cried out with a loud voice. The woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are in fact, Saul." She immediately connected them to understand what was what's happening. The King said to her, "Don't be afraid. Tell me what you see." The woman said this, "I see a divine being." Literally is I see a powerful man of God coming up out of the earth. He said to her what form and she said, "An old man is coming up and he is wrapped with a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage.
Then the Samuel and we believe this is the very voice of Samuel. This is an amazing thing. We're going to understand this. Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" This is an amazing thing. Saul answered. "I am greatly distressed. The Philistines are waging war against me. God has departed from me and answers me no more either through prophets or by dreams. Therefore, I have called you that you may make known to me what I should do. What should I do?"
Samuel said, "Why did you ask me? Since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary?" It's a very tragic day when the Lord is your adversary. Samuel continues, "The Lord has done accordingly as he spoke through me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. As you did not obey the Lord." this is a very important understanding of why this is all happened. HE didn't obey the Lord. He wouldn't listen to his voice. He rebelled against him.
Interestingly, he said earlier, when he made this declaration, several chapters back rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft. I find that fascinating. You didn't have to listen to the word of the Lord. You would not obey the Lord. You did not execute his fierce wrath on Amalek as he said so the Lord has done this thing to you this day. Moreover, the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, and therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with him. By this time tomorrow, you will be dead. As we know, several chapters later, Saul does die. He and his sons in this great battle.
Indeed, the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines. Now, Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground and was afraid because of the words of Samuel. There was no strength left in him for he had eaten no food all day and all night. There's more to the story but these are the verses I want us to see and understand because there's much to apply to our lives. Starting with this understanding, looking at the bigger picture of the thing you need Jesus as the strong man because here's the point, this whole séance thing and this is all demonic. This is the realm of Satan. When a person gets involved in the realm of Satan the enemy is in fact a great enemy, a great adversary, a strong man. You might say, Jesus is going to explain this, therefore you need Jesus. It's very important.
I. You Need Jesus as the Strong Man
When the witch of Endor conjured up Samuel, she shrieked. I submit because she was shocked to see Samuel. She wasn't expecting Samuel. She was expecting the mnemonic imitation that she was used to seeing. By the way, mediums and spiritualists were outlawed in Israel because God forbade such things. God, forbade things because these things are of the realm of darkness and God wants his people to have nothing to do with these things.
Notice a couple of scriptures, Isaiah 8:8-19. When they say to you consult mediums and spiritualists who whispered mutter should not have people consult their God. Should they consult the dead on the behalf of the living? Now, this all comes to us from Moses in Deuteronomy 18, where he said this to Israel. Now, when you enter the land which the Lord, your God gives you," the land Israel, which we know today, "When you enter that land, which the Lord, your God gives you, you shall not imitate the detestable things of those nations." Now, today, that is a tremendously important insight for us today, as a matter of fact, and is a very powerful thing to see what God calls detestable.
He says, for example, there shall not be found among you. Anyone who uses divination or practices, witchcraft who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritualist, or anyone who calls up the dead. Now, today, there are testable things in the world today that God says not to imitate this. This is not true. Look at this world around us. There are many things that are in the world that God calls detestable. Anybody agree with me?
I'll tell you, what's interesting is that the very things that the world highly values, highly esteems, highly desires, are the very things that God calls detestable. Notice what Jesus said in Luke 16:15, Jesus said to them, you justify yourselves in the sight of men but God knows your hearts. Now that's a great lead into any point. You justify yourselves. It's a very common thing that people do. You justify yourselves in the sight of men but God knows your hearts. For that, which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. For the enemy is strongly influencing those things. That's the point.
A. The enemy is a roaring lion seeking to devour
The enemy is strongly influencing those things. Have nothing to do with those things, which the enemy is strongly influencing because you are in the kingdom of God now. See he's using that world system to destroy many lives and many are held in his grip for here's the point. The enemy is a roaring lion seeking to devour. That's right out of the scriptures. The enemy is a roaring lion seeking to devour. The very purpose of the enemy is to destroy. Jesus said as much when he said, "The enemy, the thief comes to steal to kill and destroy but I have come that you have life." I want you to have life and I want you to have life abundantly life to the full that's God's desire. The enemy's desire is to destroy and so he looks for the weak, the vulnerable to attack.
He looks for those whose souls are sick. For those whose souls are sick, are those who are weak and vulnerable known as second or first, Peter 5:8-9. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert, which is to say, keep your soul in a place of watchfulness for your adversary. The devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour but resist him being firm in your faith. Now that's the spiritual victory that he's speaking of when your soul is alive. See Saul's soul was sick. He had allowed his heart to be filled with jealousy, envy insecurity, fear. For many years, he had not sought the Lord. He had not worshiped the Lord. He didn't have faith and now at his darkest hour, he has nowhere to turn. In desperation, he seeks for a witch, a medium.
Now the enemy knows that it's difficult to defeat someone whose soul is strong. The enemy knows very well. If someone is strong in faith and their soul is strong in the Lord, very hard to defeat. Therefore, he looks for those that are weak and vulnerable. Since he brings up lions when lions are on the hunt, they prowl about looking for those that are separated from the group, those that are weak, they are the ones most vulnerable. See the enemy knows that if he can separate you if he can make you alone and lonely and discouraged, then he can keep you in the darkness away from the light that then he can have a grip on your soul.
See it shows the importance of why we need each other, why we need to be together. We need to be strengthening one another. We need to gather, we need prayer. We need worship. There's a tremendous importance to what is happening. This last week I was asked to be on the Georgine rice show and she wanted to talk about the state of the church in general.
I used an illustration and I said it's like this. If you take the embers of a fire and you spread them out the whole thing is going to cool off pretty fast but if you bring those embers together and you bring them tighter and tighter, there's an intensity that happens and that's the church. During the pandemic, I'll tell you it was a tremendous thing that we had live streaming because of course, we couldn't even gather and all the social distancing and everything that we had to do. We couldn't have anybody in the church and I'm very thankful that we had live streaming was a great thing that the word of God could go forth, that we could still continue to teach but it was difficult because there's nobody here. In fact, we brought the cameras close, just real close and they can feel a little more intimate but there's nobody in the room. There's nobody laughing at my jokes.
I know, I was lonely but the whole church was impacted. It's great that we could continue but the church was impacted because the embers are spread out, you might say. We need one another. There's something that happens when the church is drawn when the embers are drawn together, when we can encourage one another when we can pray for one another. There's something that happens when we worship together. This is a very important to understanding.
B. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah
The church needs to strengthen each other. For when we are strengthened, what we have come to understand is this, though, the enemy is a lion seeking to devour, Jesus is the lion from the tribe of Judah. This is the point. Now, this comes to us in many places but one of the most powerful scenes of this is in the book of Revelation, where the writer, John is given a view into heaven itself. He said, "I saw a sea of glass like crystal and in the center was the throne and then the right hand of him who sat on the throne was a scroll sealed with seven seals and then a strong angel proclaiming in a loud voice who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"
No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the book or look into it. John writes that he hearing this began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book. Then one of the elders said, stop weeping for the lion from the tribe of Judah has overcome. As to open the book and to break its seven seals. John then says, "I looked and I saw a lamb as though slain". This is one of the great scenes out of the book of Revelation, stop weeping for the lion, the great lion from the tribe of Judah has overcome. I looked expecting to see a lion but there was the lamb as though slain.
It's one of the great understandings of the gospel. Jesus is the lion who conquered death and defeated the enemy because he was the lamb who gave his own life as a sacrifice, as payment in full, as payment for all of the sins that held us in the grip of the enemy all those years. Therefore Jesus is the lion, you invite him into your life. Jesus, here's the point, Jesus is the strong man in your life now. He is a strong man who will strengthen your life. He is a strong man who will strengthen. Saul was weak spiritually. He had not been walking with the Lord. His heart was filled with fear and anger and insecurity. In desperation, he seeks for a witch to conjure up help by calling for Samuel the witch of Endor shrieks, when she sees Samuel. I see a powerful man of God coming out of the earth.
She's shocked because this is actually Samuel. My point is, God has overtaken the whole thing. Demons no longer controlled this because that is their realm but God has overtaken the whole thing because God is greater than all of them. He desired for his purpose, he used it for the purpose of speaking to Saul that final word. For the point is this, greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world. God has overcome them. That's the point, Amen. It's the fundamental understanding of spiritual warfare.
Let's look at the bigger picture. When God sees the condition, the lostness, the brokenness. He sent his son to seek and to save that, which was lost and so it tells us that Jesus then pursued sinners. He knocked on the door of their heart, he called out their name. When you open the door of your heart and invite him in, he takes residence in your life, in your heart, and in your soul.
When you invite Jesus into your life, you have invited the lion from the tribe of Judah. He is the one who has now taken up residence in your life. He is the strong man in your life now. When he comes in, he doesn't come in as a guest, he's a lion. He comes in to change, he comes in to transform, he's the master of the house. When you invite him in, you've invited him to be the master. 1 John 4:4, you are from God, little children, and have overcome them because greater is he who is in you than he was in the world. By the way, while we're on this, this is the reason we believe that Christians cannot be possessed by a demon. You may be greatly troubled or distressed or tempted by the enemy but Jesus is greater. Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.
Now Jesus gave a deep understanding of this and it came about on an occasion when Jesus was casting out demons and the Jewish leaders saw Jesus casting out these demons and they were very concerned because the crowd was amazed at this. They saw the authority that Jesus had over that spiritual realm. They were very concerned because the crowd was very amazed and they were beginning to move toward Jesus. The Jewish leaders, seeing him cast out demons said, "Ha. He cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub Lord of the flies is another name for Satan. He cast out demons, but he's using the power of Satan to do it."
Jesus responded to this. This is Luke 11, it's also found in Matthew 12. It's a very important answer and a very important and understanding. What Jesus basically said in response was that does not even make sense. Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste. A house divided against itself falls. Of course, we know this was a great principle, it's quoted very often. He goes on to explain, if Satan is divided against himself, then how will his kingdom stand? Since you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub. If I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Then he gives this interesting insight. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. Now, this we accept. This is a principle that we all get. If a strong man, fully armed guards, his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. Is like this, if somebody breaks into my house in the middle of the night. I'm going to encounter whatever invader has come into my house, I'm going to deal with that invader. I am the strong man in the house. I'm going to deal with whatever has come in. You're going to have to overcome me, if you want to take this house. Everybody knows this. This is a great principle.
The idea he's explaining here, is that when a person has a demon in their life, Satan is in fact that strong man of the house. Therefore, he goes onto explain but when someone's stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him, all the armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. That is what Jesus is explaining, this is how he cast out demons because he binds the strong man in that person's life.
He binds Satan and then he cast out the demons for the purpose, of course, that they would be filled with the presence of the living God, but he giving a principle. He's explaining the nature of spiritual warfare. By the way, it's important to understand if a person has a demonic influence in their lives, Satan is the strong man of that person but when a person opens the door of their heart to Jesus Christ, you have invited the lion from the tribe of Judah into your life.
II. Jesus is the Strong Man who Strengthens
I asked you this question, who's the strong man in your life now? I suggest to you that Jesus is in fact, the strong man of your life because he is the lion from the tribe of Judah that you just invited in your life.
Who is the strong man now? Is Jesus. Who's going overpower him? Who's going to overcome him? A demon? I suggest not. That's why this is a deep understanding. Revelation 3:20, behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with me. Now notice he's giving a picture of the relationship that follows. You open your door, you invite Jesus into your life. He's the strong man of your life now for he is the strong man who strengthens because those whom he loves, he strengthens.
Jesus says if I cast out demons by the finger of God then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Hey, if the kingdom of God has come upon you, then it's come upon you for good. To give you a future. To give you hope. To pour God's favor. To pour God's blessing on your life. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that you have life. It's the very intent of God. He is the strong man who strengthens.
You're not just inviting a guest into your house. He's the one who will transform your life because he is the lion from the tribe of Judah and He will strengthen your soul because I tell you if your soul has been taken up by worldly things. Strongly influenced by worldly things, your soul is sick. It's very important. I tell you, there are many people today whose souls are sick. They need to be strengthened in the Lord.
If your life has been heavily influenced by that which is darkness, you can be sure that you need to be strengthened spiritually but that's the very intent of God. That's the very thing he desires to do for he when you invite him in your life is the strong man who will strengthen. When Saul was at his darkest hour, he sought for a witch but God used that. God overtook the whole séance to declare to solve that the end had come. By that time the next day he would be dead.
I mentioned this on Wednesday and it bears repeating. You look at the whole of Saul's time, his rule as king. He spent the vast majority of his rule as king in pursuit of David. Filled with insecurity and fear and anger, he pursued David. That was his legacy. Let me just say something. That's not much of a legacy. When you look back on your life, don't you want to know that your life mattered, that you made a difference, that you left a legacy that you have meaning and purpose to your life? It comes from a soul that's alive. It comes from being strengthened in the Lord. What God wants to do.
In contrast, here's an interesting contrast, David. He comes to his darkest hour, two chapters later. What a difference? What a contrast in David's darkest hour. He turns to the Lord and he strengthens himself in the Lord. This is one of the highlight points of the entire book. 1 Samuel 30:3-6 is a huge backstory but let's just read it as it is. ''When David and his men came to their city, behold, it was burned with fire. While he and the men were out, the Amalekites came, destroyed, burned it with fire, their wives and their sons and their daughters were taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted their voices and wept until there was no strength in them to weep."
Now you say, this is disaster. This is the lowest, this is the darkest. Oh, no. It gets worse. Moreover, David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him for the people were embittered. Each one because of his sons and his daughters, they were blaming David, you did this. You let us into this. We've got to kill David. This is the darkest hour. 1 Samuel 30:6 David and here's the difference? Here's the contrast but David strengthened himself in the Lord. David strengthened himself in the Lord. This is a tremendous insight this is the key to spiritual victory it's the key to spiritual warfare. To strengthen your soul in the Lord your God for there is so much in this world that will make your soul sick.
A. Greater is He who is in you
There are many people today held in the grip of worldly forces and their soul is sick. I know many people today and I'll tell you I have never seen spiritual warfare like I'm seeing today. So many people are held in the grip of such darkness, but he says, you open your heart. You invite the one who is the lion from the tribe of Judah into your life and he will strengthen your soul.
How does a person strengthen their soul? It has everything to do with what you put into your soul and has everything to do with what you put into your soul for there are many things that you can put into your soul that will make you sick. There are also things that come from the living God, that will make your soul alive. That which comes from God is beautiful. It's joyful, it's peace, it's love, it's honorable. That which comes from God will transform your life.
Walk with Him, dwell in the shadow of the almighty. Be near to Him. You're going to spend eternity in the presence of the living God. Might as well as spend your time on earth with the living God. You're going to be enjoying his presence for eternity. You might as well enjoy his presence now. You're going to be worshiping God for eternity, you might as well worship God now. You're going to be filled with his presence in eternity, you might as well be filled with his presence now. Why wait? Why not start now? He's offering you the opportunity to have the living God in your heart and in your life. When God moves, he does that which is beautiful and joyful and honorable and good.
He'll strengthen your soul. You dwell in the shadow of the almighty and the nearness of God is your good. When you receive his word, your soul is being strengthened. Your soul is being strengthened right now because his word is going forth. When his word goes forth, it goes forth with power. It does not return void without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent to them. The purpose for which he sent it is to transform your life. For faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ. Right now, your soul is being strengthened.
When you worship and your heart is open wide you are in fact being strengthened because he inhabits the praises of his people.
God is in this he plays. When you worship, he transforms he strengthens, he touches he does that, which is beautiful. Strengthen yourself in the Lord. Open your heart, invite Jesus to be the lion in your life. He will be with you and he will walk with you on this journey. You invite him and he will walk with you the rest of this journey. When you get to the end and you breathe your last breath, you're just going to keep on walking right into the living God.
He'll speak to you on the way. He'll speak life he'll speak joy he'll encourage, he'll edify, he'll build, he'll do that which is beautiful, he'll strengthen. 'Cause if your soul is sick, God's not done. He can make all the difference that you need. Open your heart. Let the lion of the tribe of Judah, strengthen your soul and do that which is beautiful. Let's pray. Father, thank you so much for showing us that greater is he who is in us than he was in the world. That the very intent of the heart of God is to bring life and life to the full. How many today would say, "I want my soul to be alive. I'm on my soul to be strengthened in the Lord."
I'm asking God, I know that you are the one who can transform and strengthen my soul. I'm asking. That's my desire. Do that in me God strengthened my soul. Make me alive. I want my soul to be alive. If you would ask that of God, if you would say that to the Lord. You just simply say it by raising your hand to the Lord. Just raise your hand and say, "God, I'm saying to you now by raising my hand that I want my soul to be alive. I want you to strengthen the inner man within me. I want that, which is beautiful. That comes from your hand. Do that in me God do that in me."
Father, thank you for everyone who desires, who longs for the things of God in their life, strengthen everyone who says, yes, that's the heart of desire. Do it, Lord, in all of us, we pray in Jesus' name and everyone said--