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Tuomo Läntelä tuomo.lantela@gmail.

com

This Bible study contains three parts:


Temptations,
The reality of our flesh, the world and the Spirit
The armor of God
You can study it all at once or you may
Divide it into three or more parts

It can be studied alone or if you are a


Bible group leader, you can use it as a
study material with your Bible group.

God bless you!


SPIRITUAL WARFARE
INTRODUCTION
What is Spiritual warfare? What kind of enemy are we fighting against? What kind of
chances do we have in this battle as Christians? In this Bible study the spiritual war-
fare will be studied from the Calvary perspective. You will learn how triumphant po-
sition Jesus can provide us because of Calvary!

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. Ephesians 6:12

There are countries that always stay neutral no matter how bloody wars would be
going around them. In spiritual war is impossible to stay neutral, there are no peace
negotiators and there surely is no room for conscientious objectors.

Our only chance to fight against the spiritual forces of evil is to put on the full armor
of God. It is the only protection for our body, soul and spirit.

We will study the spiritual warfare from the perspective of Jesus’ victory. Paul writes
to Colossians: “having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spec-
tacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:15)

Table of Contents
Part I: Temptations
- Where do the temptations come from?
- Why do the temptations come`?
- How can I overcome temptations?
Part II: The reality of our flesh, the world and the Spirit
- Problems coming from outside –the reality of the world
- Problems coming from inside –the reality of the flesh
- Solution coming from God’s grace –the reality of the spirit
- About Christian perspective to humanity
Part III: Spiritual warfare
- The armor of God
- The holy Spirit provides the armor
- Our position in Christ

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PART I: TEMPTATIONS
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot
be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. James 1:13

Where do the temptations come from?


The origin of temptations is the D EVIL. The Bible calls him the tempter
(Matthew 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 3:5).

Gen 3 The Devil tempts Adam and Eve


1Ch 21:1 Satan incited David to sin
Mat 4:3 The Devil tempted Jesus
1Thes 3:5 The tempter tempts the Christians

We are also tempted by our own FLESH, our lust and our carnal and evil
desires we have learned to practice.

Jas 1:14-15 Each one is tempted by his own evil desire


Mat 26:41 The spirit is willing but the body is weak
1Tim 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation

Temptations may also come through other PEOPLE.

Pr 1:10-13 Temptation of riches


Pr 7:10-27 Sexual temptations
Pr 16:29 Temptation to violence

All people have temptations in their life. It is not a sign of a bad Christian and temp-
tation is not sin. It is as if a burglar should break into a man's house to steal, and
when the master of the house begins to resist him and drive him out, the burglar
turns around and accuses the owner of being the thief. This is Satan's great trick for
entrapping us. He comes and whispers suggestions of evil to us -doubts, blasphe-
mies, jealousies, envyings, and pride -and then turns around and says, "You are
wicked to think such things! We are strongly urged to "count it all joy when ye fall
into divers temptations" (James 1:2). Temptation, therefore, cannot be sin. The truth
is, it is no more a sin to hear these whispers and suggestions of evil in our souls,
than it is for us to hear the wicked talk of men as we pass along the street. In either
case, the sin comes, only by our stopping and joining in with them

Do you sometimes blame God for your temptations? Do you sometimes blame the
Devil or demons for the temptations that are caused by your own flesh and evil de-
sires because it gives you an easy way out from the guiltiness?

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Why do the temptations come?

Because the D EVIL…

1 Peter 5:8 Is looking for us to devour


1 Thes 3:5 Wants to destroy God’s work in us
2 Cor 4:4 Is the god of this age

Because our FLESH…

Gal 5:17 Desires what is contrary to the Spirit


Gal 6:8 Brings destruction if we sow to please it
Rom 8:7 Is hostile to God
Rom 7:15- Is corrupted and nothing good lives in it

Because G OD…

1 Cor 10:12- Allows us to be tempted (but He does not temp us)


James 1:2-4 Allows to test our faith so that we might grow spiritually
1 Peter 1:6-7 Allows our faith to be proved genuine and so may result glory

Temptations always come from the Devil directly or indirectly (through our flesh or
through other people). The Devil teases us because he wants to destroy God’s work
in us. God can however turn temptations to serve good.

Never underestimate your temptations. Remember that when you win your tempta-
tions it is always a victory to God and a defeat to the Devil.

How can I overcome temptations?


Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those
who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18, 4:15

1. Flee 2Tim 2:22


2. Live by the Spirit Gal 5:16-28
3. Put on the armor of God Eph 6:10-18
4. Watch your spiritual life Gal 6:1, Mat 26:41, 1Peter 5:8
5. Pray Mat 26:41, Mat 6:13
6. Read the Bible Mat 4:4,7,10
7. Be determined Mat 5:29-30
8. Resist the Devil 1Peter 5:9

Two important principals: Jesus conquered the Devil on Calvary and the
Devil knows it. Col 2:15
Jesus gave us authority in His name
Mark 16:17, Luke 10:19

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PART II: THE REALITY OF OUR SPIRIT, FLESH, AND THE WORLD
For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work
in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of
the law of sin at work within me. Romans 7:22-23

The Bible talks about our spirit and flesh:


Our spirit (inwardly): We have been made alive by God and we delight in
God’s law. Inwardly we are always ready and willing to
serve and please God.
Our flesh (outwardly): We are fighting against God’s law. The lust of our flesh
tempts us and makes our Christian life difficult.

That’s why Paul writes in one letter that God always leads us in triumphal proces-
sion in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of
him. And in another letter he sights that what he wants to do he doesn’t do, but
what he hates, he does (Romans 7:14-25).

Jesus reminds us about another difficult thing besides our flesh:


The world: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have
peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world (John 16:33)

It is important to understand that God is watching us (Christians struggling with our


flesh and the world) through Christ’s blood and through his atoning work on Calvary.
He sees us differently than we so often see ourselves. Already in the Old Testament
God declares: “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at
the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

No matter what problems a Christian may


face, no matter how weak he might feel
himself, God sees him as a blood washed,
clean hearted, precious person.
Even when you make mistakes and your
failures take away your courage, even
when people around you accuse you of all
kinds of things, God sees you through
Christ’s precious blood and he sees a
clean heart, ready to go to heaven any
time.

We should learn to see ourselves from God’s point of view. Paul writes to Corin-
thians that we don’t know man after the flesh anymore (2 Cor 5:16). It is important to
focus on the spirit realm instead of the natural things and short comings.

Next we will have a deeper look at those three different realms: the world, the flesh
and the Spiritual realm.

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Problems coming from outside –the reality of the world
The world brought imprisonment to Paul’s life.
He was flogged several times, he was hungry 2Cor 11:23-33 Acts 5:40
and thirsty, weak and dishonored. Jesus said
about Paul: “I will show him how much he
must suffer for my name.” Stephen was Acts 7:59 2Tim 3:10-12
stoned to death. Paul writes to Timothy:
“everyone who wants to live a godly life in
Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Besides per-
secution, the world also is trying to tempt us Acts 9:16 1Cor 4:9-13
away from Christ by it’s fake beauty.

Hebrews 11 writes about the saints in Old testament: “Others were tortured and re-
fused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers
and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned;
they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in
sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not
worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in
the ground. “ The world wants to destroy God’s people.

Problems coming from inside –the reality of the flesh


Paul admits: “I know that nothing good lives in me,
that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do Ro 7:15-24
what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do
Gal 5:17
is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want
to do—this I keep on doing.” James asks: “What Ro 3:9-18
causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they James 4:1
come from your desires that battle within you?”
Ro 5:12
How easy would our Christian life be if we did not
have the evil desires!

Solution coming from God’s grace –the reality of the spirit


…who is able to keep you from falling and present you… without fault… Jude 24
…so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ… 1Cor 1:8
...in all things God works for the good of those who love him… Ro 8:28
...who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ… 2Cor 2:14
...we are more than conquerors through him who loved us… Ro 8:37
...He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ… 1Cor 15:57
...Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… 1John 5:1
...You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them… 1John 4:4
...we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God… Ro 5:1
...we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son… Ro 5:10
...we are to God the aroma of Christ… 2Cor 2:15
...You are a letter from Christ… 2Cor 3:3
...you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation… 1Peter 2:9-10
...you are all sons of God...you have clothed yourselves with Christ Gal 3:26-27
...you are already clean… John 15:3
...you are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world… Mat 5:13-14
…who have faith in me... will do even greater things than these John 14:12
...ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.. John 15:7
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About Christian perspective to humanity

Inner and outer being - our spirit and flesh Ro 7:14-20


After realizing this we are able to receive the Gospel of grace: God’s grace
and salvation is not based on our deeds - the atonement of our spirit does
not depend on our success in this world. It is the spirit in us that is able to
have a contact with God and is finally inherit the kingdom of God. And that’s
why we must focus on our spirit.

You reap what you sow Gal 6:7-10, Ro 8:5,13


If we feed our faith, if we sow to our born again spirit, if we talk about God’s
mighty works and about his possibilities in our life, then we will reap victori-
ous Christian life. If we set our minds on what the Spirit desires, we will stop
living according to our sinful nature.

We regard no one from a worldly point of view Gal 2:20, 2Cor 5:15-17
You must not regard yourself either from the worldly point of view. (The King
James version says that we should not know anybody after the flesh.) We
should see the spirit instead. The apostles did not even let their emotions go
with the feelings of their flesh: they rejoiced if they were counted worthy of
suffering for Christ (Acts 5:40-42). No worldly problems could stop them real-
izing that God was always leading them in triumphal procession in Christ
(2Cor 2:14). Learn to recognize your spirit, learn to know yourself as a spiri-
tual being!

My born again spirit


-eternal
- acceptable to God
- always ready to serve God
- constantly being
washed by
Jesus’ blood

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PART III: SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full ar-
mor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
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. Eph. 6:10-12

The Bible teaches that spiritual warfare is the conflict between good and evil. It is
the ongoing battle between two diametrically opposed kingdoms: God’s kingdom
(good) and Satan’s kingdom (evil). Though it is inherently a spiritual conflict, spiritual
warfare also manifests in the natural realm of flesh and blood. Humans are caught
in the midst of this conflict and may participate in the struggle on either side.

God offers us his own armor that guarantees fruitful ministry. Our own big faith or
rearmament is not a key to victorious Christian life. We must put on God’s armor.
Getting ready for spiritual warfare is a very Calvary centered matter.

The armor of God Eph 6:11-18 – key to a successful Christian life


Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil
comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done eve-
rything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around
your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your
feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addi-
tion to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all
occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Eph. 6:13-18

Like king Saul wanted to put his armor on young David for the battle against Goliath
(1.Samuel 17:38), same way God wants to put his armor on us for the battle against
the evil. We know from the scripture that Saul’s armor was too big for David, but
God’s armor suits us perfectly. The armor is actually God’s own armor, not just
any armor! In the Bible we can find several examples how God himself is wearing
the armor he is offering us now! In Isaiah 11:5 we read: “Righteousness will be his
belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. “ Isaiah 59:17 says: “He put right-
eousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head.” In the book
of Revelation describes Jesus: “and out of his mouth came a sharp double edged
sword.”

This armor of God can be put on by praying. The KV writes: “...take...the sword of
the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayers and supplication
in the Spirit…” Do we want to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit in prayer so that
he can arm us? It is possible for every Christian and it is what God expects from us!
It is obvious that going to the battle without the armor is fruitless. On the other hand
it is also fruitless to put on armor without going to the battle.

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You may have read how God in Old Testament times raised up heroes among the
Israelites. They fought the enemies in God’s name. Those heroes (David, Gideon,
etc.) were often weak and nothing in people’s eyes before God appeared to them.
But with God’s authority they conquered whole armies of the enemies. Today God
calls his church to be a hero. He wants to put his armor on all Christians. Without
God and his authority the church is weak and just a group of insignificant people.
But after being filled by the Holy Spirit, the Christians will be empowered with such
an authority that they can conquer whole armies of the evil and rescue souls to the
kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit provides the armor of God


Holy Spirit has an essential part in our armament and our preparation for the battle.
In Acts 1:4-8 Jesus himself says that the Holy Spirit will equip the disciples to evan-
gelize the world and they should not even start doing their job before they would be
filled with the Holy Spirit: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father
promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but
in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit... But you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and
in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." As we study the Bible, we
find that the Holy Spirit actually provides us the whole armor (truth, righteousness,
readiness, faith, salvation, word of God) mentioned in Ephesians 6. It is shown be-
low. The table also summarizes what is said earlier:

The armor of God God using his armor Holy Spirit


Ephesians 6 God’s example Providing the armor

Belt of truth bucked around Righteousness will be his belt When he, the Spirit of truth,
your waist. Verse 14 and faithfulness the sash comes, he will guide you into
around his waist. Isaiah 11:5 all truth. John 16:13

Breastplate of righteousness in He put righteousness as his Kingdom of God is a matter of


place. Verse 14 breastplate. Isaiah 59:17 righteousness, in the Holy
Spirit. Rom 14:17 Counselor
will convict the world of guilt in
regard to righteousness. John
16:8
Feet fitted with readiness that You will receive power when
comes from the gospel of the Holy Spirit comes on you;
peace. Verse 15 and you will be my witnesses.
Acts 1:8

Take up the shield of faith, with Stephen, a man full of faith


which you can extinguish all and of the Holy Spirit. Acts 6:5
flaming arrows of the evil one. Barnabas... full of the Holy
Verse 16 Spirit and faith. Acts 11:24

Take the helmet of salvation. He put… the helmet of salva- He saved us through the
Verse 17 tion on his head. washing of rebirth and renewal
Isaiah 59:17 by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5

And the sword of the Spirit, Out of his mouth came a sharp The Holy Spirit... will teach you
which is the word of God. double-edged sword. Revela- all things and will remind you
Verse 17 tion 1:16 of everything I have said to
you. John 14:26

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Our position in Christ

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would
be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they
soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and
lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is fin-
ished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John. 19:28-30

Jesus fulfilled all prophesies about him: In genesis 3:15 God tells to the serpent
what Jesus will do in Calvary: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and
between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head…” That foreshadows Sa-
tan’s defeat when Christ rose from the dead.

Hebrews 2:14 writes: “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in
their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of
death—that is, the devil—”
In Ephesians 1:19-23 Paul writes: ”That power is like the working of his mighty
strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated
him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power
and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also
in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to
be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who
fills everything in every way.”

We have a Spiritual battle against the devil, and the Bible shows us what is our posi-
tion in Christ when we fight.

Wrong points of view:


Some Christians are acting like there is no war at all going around them. They are
sleeping spiritually and facing troubles because they are not alert or prepared to
stand firm in Christ when trials com. Jesus said in Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray
so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.”
Some Christians lift up the devil in their minds and talks. They are saying that the
war is hard and our enemy gets stronger and stronger every day. They think that the
devil is superior to normal Christians.
Some Christians are constantly trying to defeat a powerful or a weak enemy.
Sometimes you may hear people saying: “Down here we sometimes are weak and
may be beaten but thank God we know how this all will finally end.”
There are not Biblical views but they are wrong pictures about spiritual warfare. The
Bible offers us a different point of view, it reveals us our superior position in Christ. It
reveals us that the battle is not ours but His and he had already defeated the en-
emy. In the next page we study more about the Biblical view according to the Co-
lossians 2.

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God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled
the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood op-
posed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the
powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over
them by the cross. Colossians 2:13-15

Biblical point of view to the spiritual warfare:


1. Note, that the Colossians 2 is talking about the same powers
and authorities mentioned in Ephesians 6:12.
2. Note the past tense: having disarmed, made. It has already
happened, we don’t need to look forward to it.
3. We are fighting the enemy who is disarmed and triumphed
by Christ on Calvary.

- try to disarm the devil, Jesus did it already on Calvary!


- try to defeat the devil, Jesus did it already on Calvary!
- look for a victory to come, the victory is here already!
- fear the devil, it is to underestimate the Calvary!
- settle for loosing, it is forgetting the power of Jesus’ blood

Jesus tried to convince the disciples to understand their position in Him. He knew
how powerful his victory is over the devil and how superior all Christians can be in
Him:

Matthew 10:1 “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to
drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness”
Luke 10:19 ”I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and
to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Mark 16:17 ”These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they
will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick
up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it
will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people,
and they will get well.”

Does this sound like a war against a superior enemy?


Does the devil sound like a frightening enemy?
Does it sound like we should feel sorry about our weakness against the devil
and look for a victory to come in future?
Satan is “the god of this world” (2Cor 4:4)
We do not belong to the world, but Jesus has chosen us from the world (John
15:18)
Jesus has overcome, so we can overcome with him!
Jesus has authority aver the devil, and we may use His authority too!

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Hopefully this Bible study helps you to understand the basic principles of spiritual
warfare and how important is for you to stay close to the Lord. The Word of God is
full of good advices how we can be victorious in our Christian life. That is why I en-
courage you to open your Bible and study it with passion.

Read the Bible daily. Study it praying and with a great interest and passion. Read it
systematically but also study different topics and make careful notes. Attend your
Church activities weekly and my prayer is that the Lord would guide your life accord-
ing to His will.

Tuomo Lantela
tuomo.lantela@gmail.com

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