Prepared for Spiritual Battle, Part 1 - Bob Sawvelle


Prepared for Spiritual Battle, Part 1

We love God because He first loved us. As lovers of Jesus, we courageously face hardship and opposition that others may know Him. That is our commission and mandate.

We recognize, that before Christ we used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.” (Eph. 2:2 NLT) We understand that deception covers those who do not know Jesus, and our aim as His followers is to help liberate them from darkness.

We recognize that we are not fighting against those who do not know Jesus or each other, but against unseen forces. Love must anchor and guide us—always. We wage spiritual war as a lover of God and of others, resting in the finished work of Christ. The Church is a glorious bride and a Holy army, prepared for spiritual battle. We live ready, for the stakes are high—the liberation of souls.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will discuss being prepared and strengthened for the spiritual warfare that we experience. It is unavoidable.

To give you an example of the sway demonic powers have over those who don’t believe, CNN host Don Lemon made a heretical statement last Monday evening, Jesus Christ, if that’s who you believe in, Jesus Christ, admittedly was not perfect when he was here on this earth,” Lemon told his colleague Chris Cuomo during “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” on Monday.” [1]

No, Jesus was the spotless, sinless, Son of God—God with us in human flesh—perfect in every way.

Sure, unbelievers make statements like this often, but Lemon has an international audience of millions. The enemy uses people with influence to cast doubt about Jesus and His divinity and hold humanity in unbelief and darkness. We love and pray for Don; we recognize he is blinded by darkness and pray he would encounter Jesus and experience His love and salvation.

I’ll begin with Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians,

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph. 6:10-12 NKJV

Paul uses the imagery of a disciplined Roman soldier for the church to understand how we are to be engaged in the Spiritual realms. Paul understood a Roman soldier’s preparation, intensity, and equipment.

Paul is casting a vision to the Ephesian church of the battle they (we) are engaged in. The Holy Spirit instructs all believers to put on the armor of God, to not only prepare for battle, but to advance the Kingdom.

The success of the Roman Empire was the reflection of the Roman military and the discipline of its army. Paul lived during a time known as the Pax Romana or Roman Peace. The peace was the result of Roman military might, which established the boundaries of the Empire.

Rome started out as a city-state, in 753 B.C. By 509 B.C., Rome became a republic, as its farmer-solders had conquered cities and territories outside of Rome. Rome became an empire in 27 B.C until 476 A.D.

Rome eventually controlled the Mediterranean, which led to the conquest of Judea in 64 B.C. Rome expected a great deal out of her army – along with fitness, the Roman soldier trained to use his weapons and armor in combat – often training from 6:00 AM until Midnight. Before battles they would spend weeks training, getting ready for the war.

Paul, who sees himself and believers as God’s warriors fighting against demonic realms, commands the church to be strong in the Lord and wage effective warfare.

“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” (Eph. 6:10 NKJV) This phrase could be translated, “Strengthen yourself in the Lord.…” (I shared extensively on this passage two weeks ago, Strengthen Yourself in the Lord, Part 4)

Paul, by using the phrase, “Finally my brethren,” is concluding his message to the Church at Ephesus. The letter to Ephesus is divided into two parts:

In the first part (Ch 1-3), Paul instructs the church where they stand in Christ. In the second part (Ch 4-6), Paul instructs the saints how to apply their position in Christ. They are not to be passive believers; they are to walk in the spirit (Eph. 4:1). Our walk is based on the presence of God’s Spirit, who dwells in us, because of our conversion (Part 1). Therefore, we are to imitators of God (Eph. 5:1).

The Christian faith is established upon our love for and intimacy with Jesus. But it also requires action for growth and training. Paul exhorts the Ephesian saints, and us today, to “walk in love”, “walk as children of light” and to “walk circumspectly”. To be strong means to walk, move forward in faith—established in the Lord’s strength.

Paul concludes this letter with a command to the Ephesian church. He tells them to be “strong in the Lord and the power of His might.” How? First, by knowing your position in Christ and secondly by actively exercising your faith (staying fit spiritually and using God’s prescribed armor and weapons).

Our strength is found in Christ, in His power and might. We are in Christ, united with Him. The key is in the phrase “in the Lord.” The power is “located in” or “contained” in Jesus Christ (9 times used in Eph 1).

Paul wants the reader to understand that we must be strong in Christ, be spiritually disciplined, and recognize we are fighting against unseen forces that influence and impact humanity with evil.

Paul wants the believer to understand that there exist spiritual kingdoms, or principalities, opposed to God’s kingdom. They are just as real as physical kingdoms, but they exist in spiritual realms.

Paul defines our struggle as being against non-physical entities; he calls them principalities, powers, and rulers in Eph. 6:12.

Take terrorism, for example. Many in the secular world see it as a clash of cultures, the culture of Islam versus the Western culture. No, it is a spiritual conflict, with unseen forces at work influencing humanity.

The same is true regarding Marxist ideology and Communism versus freedom experienced in democratic, Capitalist countries. Principalities and powers are influencing communist leaders to exercise totalitarian rule and oppression over people.

Ephesians defines these conflicts as spiritual—spiritual realms at war. The Greek word for principality (rulers) is archḗ, literally meaning origins or beginning. Kingdoms are called principalities because they were identified with a specific point where the power originated.

The ruler of a principality, árchōn, was a high official or a prince. Paul speaks of the árchōn that works in non-Christians (Eph. 2:2) [2]

Consider what Daniel described when he encountered an angel after three weeks of prayer and fasting,

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” Dan. 10:13 NKJV

The English word prince is translated from the Greek Septuagint as árchōn. It is the same Greek word Paul uses in Eph. 2:2 and similar to archḗ in Eph. 6:12. The angel, sent to bring Daniel a message, was dispatched the first day Daniel began to pray but was hindered due to spiritual warfare in the heavens. Only after a higher-ranking angel Michael came to assist were they able to overcome demonic powers to reach Daniel.

Our warfare is not with others, but with anti-Christ powers that want to stop us, blind humanity, and stop the advancement of God’s kingdom.

The enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. He is a “legalist” and looks for ways to establish strategies against us, our families, our churches, and society.

Our focus should not be on the enemy, rather on the glory and majesty of Christ. However, spiritual warfare is unavoidable; we cannot ignore this. Social justice activism has a place, but there is a danger in trying to transform culture by activism alone.

There is much warfare over America right now.

Unseen forces are at work through elements of the radical left, that is largely anti-Christ and anti-biblical to allow a spirit of death to reign over our nation.

Our nation is guilty of over 50 million babies being aborted and killed since 1973. Late-term, partial-birth abortion is barbaric. Since the innocent killing of George Floyd, the energy of the radical left has been focused on overturning society as we know it. Yet, they are blinded to the scourge of death abortion has caused. For sure, racism is a demonic evil that must be stopped, but America is not systemically racist nor is our entire police force racist or corrupt.

In 2019, there were only ten murders of African Americans caused by the police. Of those ten, only two were ruled as homicides and the officers subsequently charged. Compare this number to the thousands murdered last year, in our inner-city streets, by citizen against citizen. Where is the outcry by the radical left? Or the outcry about the millions of babies murdered through abortion? It does not fit their agenda, which is being influenced by unseen powers to enslave our nation to Marxism.

Consider how last week Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, “called for dismantling economic and political systems that serve as a “system of oppression.” [3]

The Minnesota representative said last Tuesday that most conversations about police brutality and racial injustice do not go far enough in their call for change. She, and others on the extreme left want a cultural revolution—to rewrite our constitution, redefine cultural values, and remove our liberties.

The enemy is attempting, through Marxist, socialist ideology, to remove Judeo-Christian values that are the foundation of our constitution and liberties.

Black Lives Matter—period. But so, do Hispanic Lives, Asian Lives, Caucasian Lives, etc. All lives matter—racism is never to be tolerated. As Christians, we celebrate and honor the Civil Rights movement championed by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr in the ’60s. But the BLM organization is dangerous.

BLM, on its website, lists many goals—the majority of which most people would support, like: “We work vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people.”

But despite such mainstream ideas, leaders of Black Lives Matter organization come from a far-Left point of view. The founders are Marixst. [4]

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors revealed, “Myself and Alicia, in particular, are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories.”

Further, the BLM organization is radically pro-abortion (20 million African American babies aborted since 1973) and against traditional sexual norms and family. “We foster a queer-affirming network.”

This should awaken us and cause us to seek God fervently in this hour. Our nation is being held hostage by the far left, BLM organization, and mob rule. People are being threatened, losing jobs, and in fear when their views (present or past) contradict the values of the far left and BLM. I submit to you there are unseen forces at work to rob us of civil liberties and religious freedom in the USA.

Church in America, to bring lasting societal change, spiritual breakthrough must occur. We must learn how to combat the enemy with Kingdom authority and maintain that position. America needs an awakening!

I’ll continue this next week—keep the faith and stay strong in the Lord and the power of His might!


Bob Sawvelle Signature


For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message, “Prepared for Spiritual Battle, Part 1”



[2] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 83.



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