The Enemy's Schemes
War: The Battle is Real
This Sunday we continued our series on Spiritual Warfare. We explored knowing the necessity of being ready in season and out to battle forces of evil influence in our lives. Being prepared for the attack of the evil one involves several aspects of warfare including: knowing our enemy, obtaining the proper protection for ourselves, and when the time comes – attacking the enemy.
- What do you know about the angel named Lucifer?
- What is his number one means of harming us?
- How do we recognize Satan's schemes, and how have we fallen from them?
Building on the premise from last week that our faith is not based on our own works and thereby protected from our failures, we must focus on what the real problems actually are. We see in Ephesians that we are not fighting against physical forces, but rather, spiritual ones. Knowing this churns us to cling to what God has equipped us with to fight against those forces. The armor of God is provided to us precisely to safeguard us from the dangers we’re exposed to.
- What has God equipped the church with to fight spiritual forces?
- How do the members of your community group challenge your preparedness to handle spiritual attack?
- How can your community group improve its collective use of the armor of God?
The enemy does not just offer us opportunities to turn away from faith in Jesus in trials, but also chances to accept an idolatrous image in ourselves. Following in the evil one’s image of rebellion against God is the goal of the devil. But we have strength in knowing that when we’re being attacked, it’s likely during an opportunity God has given us to refine our faith.
- How do you apply the power of God and the Gospel in your life to safe guard against the schemes of Satan?
- Spend some time in each other’s lives while praying for one another’s trials. Also be sure to spend some time examining the scriptures below answering any questions that may come up.
Ezekiel 28:12-16 ESV:
 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD:
“You were the signet of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was your covering,
sardius, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;
and crafted in gold were your settings
and your engravings.
On the day that you were created
they were prepared.
 You were an anointed guardian cherub.
I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created,
till unrighteousness was found in you.
 In the abundance of your trade
you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
from the midst of the stones of fire.
Isaiah 14:12-14 ESV:
 “How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
 You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV:
 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV:
 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 ESV:
 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
2 Corinthians 11:4-15 ESV:
 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.  Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.  Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge?  I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you.  And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.  As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia.  And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do.  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
1 John 4:4 ESV:
 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
 Discuss Isaiah 14:12-14 as well as Ezekiel 28:12-16.
 See 2 Corinthians 4:4