Date: July 7, 2019

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Matt. 12:22-29 - 22Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. 23All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” 24But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” 25Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” 29“Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. 30He who is not with me is against me. And he who does not gather with me scatters.”
I. There is a Real, Continual Cosmic Conflict between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan (Matt. 12:22-29). 1 John 5:18-20 - 18We know that any one born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him. 19We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
A. The world and its systems are under the dominion of “the prince of this world” (1 John 5:19; John 12:31).
B. We are commanded not to be unaware of Satan or his strategies (2 Cor. 2:5-11).
1. Satan lies, and is the father of lies (Gen. 3:1,4; John 8:44).
2. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4).
3. Satan masquerades as an angel of light, a messenger of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:13).
4. Satan is the accuser of Christians before God (Rev. 12:10).
C. As Christians living in the KOG, there will be suffering and hardship because Satan seeks to steal, kill and destroy you and your testimony (Eph. 2:2, 6:2; Acts 14:21-22; John 10:10; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).
Eph. 2:2 - You all once walked according to the age of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience.
Eph. 6:12 - 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.
Acts 14:21-22 - 21They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
1 Pet. 5:8-9 - 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
D. The more we seek to establish God’s Kingdom the more suffering and tribulation we must expect (1 Thes. 2:17-18).
1 Thes. 2:17-18 – But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 18For we wanted to come to you – certainly I, Paul did, again and again – but Satan stopped us.
II. The Greatest Tools in the Battle to Advance the Kingdom of God are to Know the Lord, Know the Truth of His Word, and to Walk in His Spirit (John 8:31-32; Psalm 91).
John 8:31-32 - 31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Psalm 91:1-2 - 1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”
“Don’t pray for the persecution to stop! We shouldn’t pray for a lighter load to carry, but a stronger back to endure! Then the world will see that God is with us, empowering us to live in a way that reflects his love and power. This is true freedom!” ~ Brother Yun (The Heavenly Man) Questions for further study and review: 1. What words or images come to mind when you consider spiritual warfare? How does our society view such a concept? What are your views on the subject? 2. Read Matt. 12:22-29 and 1 John 5:18-20. What is Jesus view on the subject of the conflict that exists between Himself and Satan? What does John suggest in 1 John 5:19? Do you agree? Why or why not? 3. Read each of the points and subpoints and the associated Scripture. Do you agree with each? Why or why not? 4. What are some of the strategies of the enemy that you have personally encountered? How did you defend yourself or others against these? What are the best tools to counter the strategies of the enemy? How are you doing on these? 5. Take time to reflect on Psalm 91 and then answer the question: What one thing can you do this week to become better equipped to defend yourself against the strategies of the enemy, especially as you seek to tell someone about the gospel of Jesus?

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