Introduction - The Enemy
When we think of the word 'enemy' we may think of someone who doesn't like us, or who we don't like. This may be a bully, or someone who speaks against us at school, or college. Or we may think of another country who we are at war with, or have been. In World War II, our enemy was Germany - and Japan.
Of course, these people and countries are not the real enemy, if we think in spiritual terms as the Bible encourages us to. This session is looking at a far greater enemy, the real enemy, the evil one - satan.
You will need a pack of balloons. Have 2 equal teams. In the middle of the room, place a piece of cloth which acts as a 'river'. The only way to cross the 'river' is across a bridge, which runs at right angles to the river, in the 'middle' of the river. To build the bridge, use a long bench, or a series of chairs stacked safely next to each other. As team 1 members cross the bridge, you stand members of team 2 either side of the river / bridge. They should be at least 2-5 metres away from the team crossing the bridge (basically far enough away so they find it hard to 'hit' the opposing team). They have to throw the balloons at the team crossing the river. If any of the balloons hits a member of the opposite team, they are 'knocked' into the river. A team gains points by how many members safely cross the river. Then swap round teams and go again a few times!!
1 Peter 5.8 - the enemy is like a lion
If you have a prop of a toy lion, or have an image of a cuddly lion, or preferably a lion cub, show this to people / put on the screen. Say that you brought this along to show you how cute little lions are. But then read from 1 Peter 5.8..
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
The Amplified Bible says: "Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [ in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour."
Movie Clip - Robots
Chapter 16 / 41.36 - from when Rodney says, "Right, who wants to get fixed?" through to 44.01 when Madame Gasket says to her son Ratchet, 'By the way, I bought you a little something for your desk". Ratchet turns up his right eye and the scene ends.
The enemy as a 'roaring lion'.. is he roaring at you?! Be encouraged!
Firstly, we're in a battle:
Ephesians 6.12 says - "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
You know how much you are bugging the devil by how much he is bugging you.. He only hassles and messes with those who are messing with his evil plans in God's name. If you are a Christian and aren't getting some shots fired at you, then you're probably not on the battleground. One speaker said this, "We were born onto a battleground and not into a nursery." (Jules Hodge). This is so true.
If you imagine a lion in the desert.. If you drive past he probably won't take much notice of you. However, if you tread onto his 'patch' of land, then he will roar at you and take a pop at you to try and attack and kill you. The evil one wants to kill and destroy (John 10.10), just as a lion does if you mess with it.
Secondly, the lion doesn't attack something without a lot of meat on it..
In 1 Corinthians 3.2 Paul talks about spiritual milk and food: "I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it." A baby is only able to drink milk, from a bottle or from its mother. As the baby gets older and develops, they can eat more and more solid food. The same principle should be true of a Christian. Paul was having a go at the Corinthian church saying, 'look, I gave you real good quality spiritual food, but you obviously haven't been able to eat this food, like you are still spiritual babies.'
If we are a new or young Christian, it is understandable that we aren't yet able to understand lots of deep spiritual things. But some people who have been Christians for ages, deliberately choose to be lightweight and not attempt to go deeper with God, or really obey what he says. Some don't even read their Bible. This is totally wrong and what Paul was laying into.
If a lion sees 2 zebras to eat, one with a lot of meat on it and one that looks like skin and bones, the lion will probably opt for the tastier dish - the more meaty one..! If you are a 'meaty spiritual' Christian and going for God, the enemy may well single you out more than your 'Sunday Christian' who is no threat to the evil one at all. If you're being attacked, be encouraged!!
You don't go into battle without the right gear
Ephesians 6 talks about the 'armour of God'. This is God's protective spiritual gear that he has ready for you, to arm you to fight life's battles. It talks about hope, truth, faith, knowing the Gospel and living it, God's Word and prayer. These are your weapons and ways of defending yourself and God's people. Know them. Get into the Word, stay in prayer, be continually filled with God, be hopeful and expectant for God to do as he promises, speak out Bible verses to build your faith (Romans 10.17 says, "..faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.")
Back to the lion.. If you were going out on a safari and you knew there would be lions near, or wild animals, you would take the right gear and make the right precautions. The enemy knows you, watches and looks for little ways he can get at you. The Bible also talks about the enemy as an angel of light - tricking people into thinking that all the bad stuff in this world is actually good.
You have help!!
James 4.7 gives us some amazing advice: James 4:7, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." So first of all we have to say to God - I put you first in everything and I will obey you and do exactly what you and your Word says. Then you can speak to the evil one when he attacks and say something like, 'I am submitted to God, obeying him. I resist you, evil one. The Bible says that as I resist you, you WILL flee, run away from me. So I resist you now - get away from me! In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!'
Then 2 Corinthians 10.3-5 says: "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 strongholds. We 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."
You need to protect your mind. This is the main area that the evil one attacks - through doubt, lust, wrong desires, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, depression, low self-esteem, doubting God's love for you. You must not allow these things into your mind! The Bible says that YOU have to choose to demolish and knock down these evil things that come into your mind. Instead, every thought has to be taken captive and made obedient to Christ..
What does this mean? Well, imagine that you are in a war and you have captured some enemy soldiers. You don't just let them go to destroy and kill. Instead, you disarm them (take away their guns etc) and then you lock them away - take them captive. Once they are taken captive, they no longer obey the orders of their enemy bosses, they obey what you say / what your commander says. And your commander is Jesus!!
So when a bad, negative or evil thought comes into your head, you say. 'Get out of my head. I do not listen to what you say, get away from my mind. My mind is protected by the helmet of salvation according to Ephesians 6. I take this thought captive and lock it away from me. Instead I believe what God says - that he has given me hope and has a plan for my future. The Bible says that God longs to be kind every day and his favour lasts a lifetime. So instead of believing this evil thought, I choose to believe and think about the Word of God.' OR - you can put on a Christian talk, or GOD TV, or listen to a worship CD, play your musical instrument.. That's how you can fight and make this real!
Stand and Fight! Be a warrior and not a wuss!
In the Old Testament, we find an interesting story about David..
1 Samuel 17.34-37: But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
David was a shepherd boy. His job was to look after the sheep. But this was no easy job and not for wimps! David was a warrior, even when he was young. When a lion or a bear came and took off one of the sheep he was looking after, he went after the sheep. David killed both a bear and a lion, on his own.. The bear and the lion came to kill the sheep. But David looked out for the sheep. In the same way, Jesus is described as the shepherd and we are the sheep. So Jesus is always looking out for us. But we can play our part in looking out for each other. When David came to battle Goliath, he just saw another lion trying to scare off the sheep (the sheep being the army of Israel). He knew that God would deliver him and help him, he put his trust in God. If we believe God, trust in him, have faith in him, obey and know his Word - we can work together with God to help defeat the enemy and protect each other.
Remember that one day, Jesus - the Lion of Judah will return. He will defeat the enemy for ever and will triumph and win the victory!! See Revelation 5.5.
2 Bible verses to memorise and encourage us!
Romans 8.28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8.37 - In all these things we are more than conquerors through him (God) who loved us.