2 Cor. 10:1-12
Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
7 Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s. 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed— 9 lest I seem to terrify you by letters. 10 “For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” 11 Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when we are absent, such we will also be in deed when we are present.
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
2 Cor. 11:13-15
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)
Eph. 3:16-19 (NLT)
2 Tim. 1:3-7
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Good morning good to be house of the Lord praise the Lord for his Sabbath and I was just thinking this morning the Sabbath is more than just a day that we can rest it’s more than that is a day that God sanctify that he made holy that he blessed What a wonderful gift what a wonderful reminder he’s given us every week we have that we can reminder that God is a holy God he said a day apart to focus on him to the well upon him and his goodness so God bless you today we got May you enjoy God Sabbath today the title The message this week pulling down strongholds so you know we’re going to be talking about this spiritual battle pulling down strongholds we’re going to go to 2nd Corinthians Chapter 10 versus one through 12 hear the word of the Lord now I Paul myself am pleading. When a pause for a moment it’s kind of like Paul saying Ok it’s it’s me it’s myself it’s not someone else writing this but it’s me is this is my concern I am pleading with you Paul saying by myself and pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ who in presence and lowly among you but being absent am bold towards you but I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some who think of us as if we will walk according to the flesh for though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds casting down arguments in every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled do you look at things according to the outward appearance if anyone is convinced in Christ that he is Christ let him again consider this in himself that just as he is Christ even so we are Christ for even if I should both somewhat more about our authority which the Lord gave us for edification and not for your destruction I shall not be ashamed lest I seem to terrify you by letters for his letters they say are weighty and powerful but his bodily presence is weak and his speech contemptible there are the accusations they will put in against Paul let such a person consider this that we are in Word by letters one that we all are in Word by letters when we are absent sets we also will also be in. D. when we are present for we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves but they measure in themselves by themselves or comparing themselves among themselves are not wise they got his blessings to the harried in the reading of His Holy Word let us pray gracious Heavenly Father we do praise you magnify you we thank you Father for the written word that you have given us to guide his and directness and Father I pray that your anointed will be upon the spoken word Also today father just prayed to your knowing to movie upon your servant or prayed to open our ears to receive what you have for today father that we would edify and build up your church father to encourage your people in order just pray that every word spoken will be your truth the Word in Jesus’ name amen start at the end there just was going over this the last couple days and says We dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves but they measure in themselves by themselves they was comparing themselves to themselves and while a pretty good writer I’m doing pretty good there’s only one that we as believers should compare ourselves with and that’s Jesus Christ compare yourselves to him Don’t compare yourself to your neighbors even yourself but compare yourself to him How do we line up there we all probably have some room we can improve right so the Apostle Paul in his passage is addressing the faithful of being Christians at current His main objective is defending his authority in the ministry which the Lord had given him because his authority had come under question by false teachers they were questioning Paul’s authority and they were also corrupting the Gospel that Paul would preach to them previously. Concerning these false teachers there’s a passage that reveals that not all who proclaim to be Christians not all who proclaim to be apostles not all who proclaim to be teachers or truly faithful to him and Matthew 720 Want to 23 will read not everyone who says to me Lord Lord So enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven many will say to me in that day Lord Lord have we not prophesied in your name cast out demons in your name and done many wonders in your name and then I will declare to them I never knew you Depart from Me you do practice lawlessness Paul teaches us that the work of ministry is a warfare between good and evil between the flesh and speared it is a spiritual warfare against the spiritual enemies for spiritual purposes and there are times that the war comes from within the church that’s what Paul is addressing here from within from those who are workers of iniquity to squat disguise the squad’s disguised as faithful followers that’s what Paul was dealing with he was dealing with it in his day and it’s still problem today in some churches or in the church 2nd Corinthians 1113 through 15 says for such are false apostles deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Christ and no wonder for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light there forward is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness whose then will be according to their works you know when I was a young child. When we had toys we had to we call our tour truck that’s all they were they was a it was either a truck routes always ever going to be as a truck but the toys that the kids play with today they might have some that looks like a truck but we’ll take that thing will make a few twists and turns and it’s a robot or it’s a you know it’s a person so that they know what transforming something means right it was a truck now it’s a robot transform transformed into ministers of light so they aren’t really what they appear to be and some are actually ignorant of the fact that there’s even a spiritual warfare going on some people don’t realize it or they just don’t want to realize it now just as this reject the thought I want to use a football illustration of how they can use a couple football illustrations here to help us visualize this we all know that during a football game that there is a physical battle going on out there on the field correct I mean it is a brutal physical battle you have guys that will run down that field as fast as they can possibly run in slam their body into their opponent and you know they play and they smash the ground they don’t back up likely I’m good 20 years from now they’re going to feel the effects of that they might jump right back up that day but 20 years from now 30 years from now they’re going to feel the effects so it is a brutal battle going on out there on that field. So I can’t say that it was last year because you know they weren’t allowed to fill the stands last year but we went to a high school football game it would have been I guess 2019 when we could go right so we got to support our granddaughter who’s in the band and we’re out there were sitting in the stands and that brutal battles going on out there in the field but there are certain women set in our area that they’re talking about shopping or talking about getting their hair done or talking about their shoes or talking about what’s going on with their grandkids anything and everything but they’re paying no attention to that battle that they’re not involved in that battle going on out there on the football field it’s kind of like they’re clueless to the battle but you might say well how could they be involved in that battle so I’ll use another football illustration to show you how we’re going to use an n.f.l. team this time not Hospital football team back when they were allowed to fill the stands for with fans there is a football team that the Fanes are called the 12th man now to make sure you understand what I want to talk about here each team’s only allowed 11 people on the field 11 players so they call these fans the 12th man in this is Seattle Seahawks their fans our son who extremely loud did it distrusts the play on the field for the opponents they are so loud that oftentimes they can’t hear the play calls they’ll be jumping off sides and it’s very destructive so they are actually involved in that battle on the field the fans are they know that there’s a war going on out there out there in a field and they’re actually part of it they were involved the spiritual enemy that lurks around within Today it’s real it’s real one thing we must understand. That their message the spiritual enemy Paul speaking of false teachers within their message is very closely aligned with what’s in this word but yet it is not completely true though twisted just a little bit less Sabbath I spoke how the message of righteousness by faith was a major stumbling block for the Jews the enemy that Paul was these dealing with here was Jewish believers who were teaching the faith in Christ is not enough that’s what they were teaching faith in Christ is not enough they were wanting to bring the church back into the bondage of the written law instead of the law that is written upon the hearts that’s what they were trying to teach and that’s what Paul’s dealing with here Paul was constantly opposing false teachings in Galatians chapter 3 verses 10 through 13 for as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse for it is written Cursed is everyone who says does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them but that no one is justified by the law to repeat that but no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident for the just shall live by faith yet the law all is not of faith but the man who does themselves by them Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the low having become a curse for us for it is written Cursed is everyone who hangs on the tree my friends the war between good and evil has been going on since beginning of time. Last but also shared Scripture were Satan attempted to exalt himself to the level of God He wanted to put his throne up to the same level of God He wanted to be God my friends this attempt resulted in a war Revelation $127.00 through 9 says oh war now for this is an actual war a war broke out in heaven Michael and his angels fought with the dragon in a dragon and his angels fought but they did not prevail nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer so the great dragon was cast out that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan who deceived the whole world that’s one of his major battle plans is to deceive who deceive the whole world was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him he was cast to the earth friends no longer permitted to dwell in heaven he was kicked out given his eviction notice and he is very angry about that Peter tells us and 1st Peter 58 be Serb or be build be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour he wants to devour you he wants to devour the church he wants to devour the human race but Paul said though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are a mighty in God I think that’s the key that we need to understand or weapons are muddying God for pulling down strongholds casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts Accel against the knowledge of God You might think why would God have cast a devil down here that we’ve got to deal with him he didn’t leave us defensives. I just said it our weapons are mighty In God We have the Thor to oversee and we have it because Jesus Christ gave it to us when he rose up from that great defeated death there are so many different types of battles to be fought when it comes to spiritual battles but let’s start with one place that it often begins and that’s right here right here in our minds doesn’t it that’s where it often begins Paul said to bring every thought captive polls focus and 2nd Corinthians was pulling down strongholds casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God So for something coming against the knowledge of God thought is a stronghold a stronghold is an area of darkness when in the within our minds or personality that causes ongoing spiritual emotional or behavioral problems we can be born again we can be saved we can have very sincere faith but yet still struggle with our thoughts can we come on be honest we can struggle with our thoughts all the more like word of that thought come from get away right we can struggle with our emotions we can struggle with habits that wage war against our relationship with Christ it’s hard to kick them old habit sometimes you know we pray we study we attempt to discipline ourselves but we often times continue to struggle because there may be a strong hold hidden away southeast of Tucson Arizona in a drag mountains is an Arizona State Park in campground called Coach ease and we actually kind of picked up by you pronounce that code she’s stronghold is what it’s called Coach she was a Native American military leader. Of the Cierra Kawa a pat Apaches in the late 1900 he was a brilliant strategist who used to 3 different strongholds to fight for and protect his people from their enemies he had one of the one in the Dragon mountains which is a modern day campground and one in the chair a column mountains and one in probably no mountains were Mt Graham is located in southeast Arizona the Calvary was never able to discover coach he’s hiding place on Mt Graham or in Chicago a Mountains from these 3 camps coach he led guerrilla style warfare against the Mexican government against the United States Calvary against ranchers and against other Native American people groups the raids that he brilliantly orchestrated left southern Arizona in fearful chaos even today after 7 historic conflicts the Apache war remains the longest period of war in American history during war a stronghold provided a safe location unknown to his enemies they provided places where he could retreat to and live to fight another day one of the strength was his ability to escape and hide from his enemies so that he could attack them on his terms similar to Koshi strongholds or spiritual enemy the devil desires to keep his existence a secret so that he can attack when his grounds a person could have a spiritual heart stronghold and not realize it because they do not realize the source they do not realize the source of their struggles if you don’t realize that Satan is a source of your struggles he’ll continue continue to remain hidden and continue to attack Have you ever been frustrated. In your spiritual life in your Christian walk feeling like you’re kind of in a rut or you’re flat you’re not growing feel like you have to keep learning the same lessons over and over and over again well you’re not in your head yes or thinking yes it may be that you have a spiritual stronghold that needs to be dealt with spiritual strongholds that he described were casting down arguments in every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God All believers whether we acknowledge it or not are engaged in spiritual warfare against the forces of darkness as Christians we live in this world but our fight is not like the battles of this war not like the carnal battles are fought the worldly weapons whether you have an a k 47 or you could have a tank you could have a battleship you could have a nuclear warhead but they’re absolutely useless in spiritual warfare They’ll do you no good no good at all the purpose of a spiritual weapon according to 7 grenades 14 is to demolish strongholds spiritual strongholds to expose where the enemy is trying to hide a major stronghold that can be established against you it’s kind of very innocent when you are deceived about who God really is friends is if you are deceived about who God really is that can be a strong hold in your life what you think about God Do you believe that God is for you or against you you don’t have to answer that don’t say it out loud you know do you believe that God is for you or against you that’s an important question. Because a wrong idea about God the wrong knowledge about God can create an argument an argumentative added tude in us and cause us to have arguments with God’s plan his will or have lofty ideas a spiritual argument seeks to refreeze seeks to refute the knowledge of God Have you ever thought again do not answer this now loud anyway have you ever thought well you know God could never love me God could never love me I mean I know some people would have thought that I have just done so many bad things I have since so much God could never love me I know that’s a very simple example but it’s a powerful argument you know at 1st glance a cell can’t humble doesn’t it God couldn’t love me sounds kind of humble but it’s deadly reasoning because it goes against a very powerful truth about God Listen God does not love you because you are lovable but that sink in a minute God does not love you because you’re a lovable lovable you know kids care mention reading it read to the Old Testament and I chuckle one day when I asked rest have you noticed how many times God has referred to the nation of Israel as a stiff necked people I mean not a should have started make an account as I was going through there are many many many many times God refers to the Israelites as a stiff necked people they were always grumbling and complaining lowered you’ve brought us out here to kill us in the desert we had our pots a stew back in Egypt. We have no water to drink where is that Moses he’s been gone for so long there was always grown one complaining about something he called him a stiff necked people believe me he did not love them because they were lovable and I hate to break your bubble but God does not you might be a very lovable and calm person but God does not love you because you are lovable God loves you because it is God’s nature to love God loves you because it is God’s nature to love so I want to little congregational participation here I want you to repeat God loves me because it is God’s nature to love Are you ready God loves me because it is his and they’d sure to love no one can ever earn God’s affection God is love. And if we claim that God couldn’t love me then we are questioning where doubting the very nature of God So Fred you might think with what we talk about spiritual warfare we all are we’re talking about questioning God who He is what he is you know remember is a long junk Chowk we all sang it. Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible Tells Me So Jesus loves me it’s a foundational truth that we know from the Bible but whatever we question that we are surrendering territory to say when we question that Satan has no hiding place when you accept the truth about God and who he is. It is your knowledge of God’s heart that will protect you from these a tannic strongholds capturing how you think about God is your main responsibility as a believer in Jesus Christ the Christian mystic St John of the cross once penned these words about the wonder of God’s love when you regarded me your eyes imprinted grace in me in this you love me again and this my eyes merited to also love what you see in me to love what you see of me just love what God sees and rice us right let us go forth together to see ourselves in your beauty wonderful words why did Paul ask God to sew the charges up assists how massive His love is because knowing the size of God’s love for you is transformational it will transform you if Asians 316 to 19 this is the New Living Translation says I pray that from his glorious unlimited resource he will empower you with the inner strength through a spear then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in Him your roots will grow deep will grow down I had deep will grow down into God’s love how important is that there are roots grow down the in to God’s love and keep you strong and you may have the power to understand as all God’s people should should how wide how long how high and how deep is his love may you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully how great is that love. That we cannot fully understand then you would make complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God May God give us grant us the power to understand His love you can experience spiritual peace and growth in your life when you meditate on the incredible love of God remember any argument that rises to destroy your assurance of God’s love has a potential to allow the enemy to come into your mind come into your life you can destroy these lies by embracing the truth that we just learned today the men God is in love with you you receive that today God is in love with you Paul so addressed lofty opinions in every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God is the opposite of false you mill of the in so opposite of that it says God can’t love me it’s a thing exults itself against the knowledge of God is when we wrestle with are we question the choices a god makes when we question why does things the way he does why he allows certain things to happen we might think well if I was God I would have done it this way my friends that is a lofty idea don’t even go there where in the Bible does it say that God has to check with you and make sure his decisions are Ok if we allow something to happen or does something it’s not in there we are not God We are not God but he is we must trust in His goodness we must surrender every circumstance into his hands into his authority because his plans are perfect. And he’s working to bring about his eternal plans humble dependence on God is the weapon that will distort the will demolish lofty opinions dependence upon him Don’t try to make ourselves God or spiritual enemy attempts to build secret hiding places in our thought life by raising these arguments or pretense against the knowledge of God our greatest weapon Paul says is to bring every thought captive to the beatings of Christ our friends what a challenge that is think about the number of thoughts that goes or comes into our minds each and every day bring every thought captive to do billions of Christ I can be your prayer every morning Lord God Every thought every thought that comes into this mind let it be if you let it be holy let it be good 2nd Timothy Chapter one versus 337 I want to close with this I thank God whom I serve with a pure conscience as my forefathers did as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day Grady desiring to see you be mindful of your tears being mindful of your tears that I may be filled with joy when I called to remember as the genuine faith that is in you which dwelt 1st in your grandmother Lewis and your mother Eunice and I am persuaded is also in you also therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind God has given us the ability to have a sound mind. Through him through it speared every day that if our minds if we are controlled by the Holy Spirit by him that is surrendering every thought bringing a captive into him that’s what we are encouraged to do and that’s what I encourage you to do bring every thought captive the him and there are so many different ways we can go and talk about spiritual warfare and all the battles the main enemy comes against against us against the church in some many different ways but let’s begin right here with these minds let’s remind him that he has no power no authority over us because we are children of God He is our protector He is our provider he is or sustainer he is the one that we need to surrender to and just trust in him that he’s got the rest of this but yet be involved in that battle as God calls us to be guided by a spirit surrender never thought Amen.