An Outline on Spiritual Warfare

Creative Commons License What Kind of War by Paul W. Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Original publication date: 2002. Revised 2011. All scripture is Authorized King James Version, 1769 edition.

NOTE: This is an outline of a study. It is not intended to guide the reader “every step of the way” so to speak. Rather, it is deliberately done this way to allow the individual “leeway” to perceive what the LORD is showing them in the study. If this study were much more detailed it would leave little to no room for the LORD to work as the reader’s mind would be led to believe that everything is adequately covered and the major lessons thoroughly covered, and thus go no further. By leaving it “open” the reader must go to the LORD and ask what is intended.

The structure of the lesson is to make a point, give the verses which apply, then make brief commentary concerning the most significant aspect(s) of the point. This leaves the one doing the study considerable room to adapt the study to their needs.

I pray it is profitable for you.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis

Do the names: Sendero Luminoso; Polisario; M19; FMLN; Basque Separatist; UNITA; Mau Mau; Irish Republican Army; Red Army Faction; Che Guevara; Front Sandinista Liberation National; Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), mean anything to you? And what do they have to do with us?

How many of you got up this morning and set your mind that you were at war?

  • The wars of this world are a reflection of the spiritual war that is on-going.
  • Of all types of warfare, the spiritual war we fight most resembles Guerrilla Warfare.

The Guerrilla war is fought from a “Total War” concept. (By the way, Sept. 11th was simply a guerrilla attack by a far flung, guerrilla organization fighting a war based upon a religious view.)

  • There is no “Front line.”
  • One can never really be sure of who is assisting the enemy at any given time.
  • You may even find yourself assisting the enemy in your own/or a friend’s destruction
  • Constant vigilance is required — one must have a warfare mindset.
  • One is subject to attack at any time. There are no “sacred” days.
  • There are no immune, or off-limits targets.
  • One cannot “opt out” of a Guerilla War. The enemy will not allow it.
  • No one in a Guerilla war is neutral.
  • Critical victories and defeats are not easily discernable.
  • One can find that they have lost long after the particular battle that precipitated the defeat.
  • No matter how many “victories” one has, defeat is always a mere battle away — due to the targets involved.
  • Our war is not about defeating Satan. (Hebrews 2:14-15) The Lord Jesus Christ already did that.

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

  • Our war is about being effective witnesses.
  • As in any war, accurate, timely information acted upon continuously is the key to success.

Opposition tactics in this war.

1. The magnification of the faults of the brethren. Especially of the ordained men.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

This is not to say that we should not exhort one another to far better than what we do. Rather, it is say that we should consider the frailties of our own flesh before outright condemnation of someone, and thus exhort in love for them.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

Neither is it to say that we should not rebuke a brother for the sin they engage in. The criteria for rebuke is the spirit in which it is done. It is imperative that it be done in love for the erring brother.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverb 27:6)

Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities. (Psalm 141:5)

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. (Proverb 9:8)

He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. (Proverb 28:23)

And of the elders, it is written that they are to be entreated as a father. (I Timothy 5:1)

2. The perception that God’s word and God stand or fall based upon the performance of His people.

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (II Timothy 2:13)

3. The magnification of our own faults — that they are hopelessly irresolvable.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

4. That the pastor, deacons, elders and/or brethren are the standard for holiness, separation, personal conduct, etc., etc.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

5. The idea that persons (brethren) are of such authority that they are not answerable for their interpretation and application of the word of God. (Well, if so and so said it, it must be right.)

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (I Peter 5:5)

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (Psalm:118:8)

6. The perception that everyone that names Christ, or claims to be Christian and/or Baptist, is.

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (II Corinthians 11:12-15)

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (II John:7-11)

What I am referring to here is not to be hateful and difficult to these people. Rather, it is to realize that these people do not hold a right gospel, and do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. They need a proper witness placed in from of them as well. This is so that they will come to the knowledge of the Lord, or they will not be able to abide the witness and depart. In any case they require prayer.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude:3-4)

Of these it is written:

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. (Jude:12-13)

We must maintain the mindset that the LORD has on those that do not preach the exact Gospel He has delivered.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

The focus here is witness and testimony. If we don’t perceive that someone is lost, we won’t witness to them.

Ecumenism is one of the greatest dangers we face today. The pull and pressure to accept anyone and everyone that names Christ without question is very strong. When anyone questions the validity of the doctrine of another they are called hateful, divisive, difficult, etc., etc.

Ecumenism (or unity for the sake of unity) is condemned of God.


7. That our clothing, music, associations, what we watch, and partake of, doesn’t matter.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

Some of our weapons and tactics.


1. Prayer

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:44)

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)

2. The word of God

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: . . . (Ephesians 6:17)

How we wield this particular weapon is dependent upon the same things that wielding any weapon of war is dependent upon. We must:

  • Have implicit trust in the weapon we use.
  • Be intimately familiar with the weapon.
  • Be continually exercised with the weapon. (I am reminded of the United States Marine Corps creed “My Rifle”)

Do you know absolutely that the Bible you hold is the word of God without error.

Do you know that the Holy Ghost dictated every word of it to the men that wrote it down. (King James did, William Tyndale did, so have innumerable Baptist brethren over the centuries.)

I am not talking about: “I’m pretty sure,” here.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalm 12:6-7)

LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (Proverb 30:5)

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)

Our Tactics

1. A constant situational awareness (SA).

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: . . . (I Peter 5:8)

2. A prepared, sober mind.

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:1-8)

This is not to say that we have no joy. Joy and soberness are not mutually exclusive. Our joy is not dependent upon external circumstance, but rather upon our position in Christ and our cognizance of that position.

Joy is NOT frivolousness, or silliness, or fun.

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. (Romans 15:13)

Consider the following situations wherein joy is expressed, and why joy is expressed. Please note that these all are sober situations.

Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation. (II Corinthians 7:4)

How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. (II Corinthians 8:2)

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (I Peter 4:13)

3. A remembrance that the Lord Jesus Christ has already defeated the devil, death and hell. Our war is one that determines whether or not we effectively carry the Gospel.

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: . . . (I Timothy 1:19)

Why do I bring up the body? Because that is the most frequent ally Satan has in his war against us.

This will do two things for us:

  • We maintain a right perspective thus avoiding silly notions about what we are doing. (i.e. Frank Peretti)
  • It gives us an achievable end.

4. To flee. (Discretion is the better part of valor.)

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. (I Corinthians 6:18)

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (I Corinthians 10:14)

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (Flee the love of money, and the lusts of the flesh) (I Timothy 6:11)

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (II Timothy 2:22)

The example is Joseph, who fled Potipher’s wife, thus maintaining his witness and testimony.

If however, the view we have is that all this got Joseph was jail-time: Then we have a short-sighted view. Joseph persevered in the things he saw. Joseph’s vision was the kingdom of God and God’s promises. Therefore he fled to maintain a proper witness and testimony. Joseph believed the LORD implicitly.

5. Perseverance.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; . . . (Ephesians 6:18)

The issue is not whether our course is long, or short. Rather, it is whether or not we finish our course, and how we finish.

The Medal of Honor — meaningful to men; meaningless to God. ((This is not to denigrate the Medal of Honor. Rather, it is to render it in its proper place. We MUST understand that any honor bestowed by any nation will perish along with that nation, regardless of how honorable it may appear. In this, the Word of God is express:

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:6-8)

And again:

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:34-35) See also Daniel 2:31-45 and Acts 17:24-28.

We should also understand that no nation holds the place the LORD reserved for Israel because of Abraham:

He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalm 147:19-20)

And even Israel did not, and does not escape the judgment of the LORD, nor does the LORD honor them when they choose to honor man as the Scripture states:

The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. (Psalm 147:6-11)

And again:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)))

What is expected of us.

Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. (Luke 17:9-10)


(Citation to accompany the award of the Congressional Medal of Honor)

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 21 December 1967. Entered service at: Orlando, Fla. Born: 4 March 1949, Front Royal, Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader with company D, in connection with operations against the enemy. On the evenings of 20-21 December 1967, Cpl. Smedley led his 6-man squad to an ambush site at the mouth of Happy Valley, near Phouc Ninh (2) in Quang Nam Province. Later that night an estimated 100 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army regulars, carrying 122mm rocket launchers and mortars, were observed moving toward Hill 41. Realizing this was a significant enemy move to launch an attack on the vital DaNang complex, Cpl. Smedley immediately took sound and courageous action to stop the enemy threat. After he radioed for a reaction force, he skillfully maneuvered his men to a more advantageous position and led an attack on the numerically superior enemy force. A heavy volume of fire from an enemy machinegun positioned on the left flank of the squad inflicted several casualties on Cpl. Smedley’s unit. Simultaneously, an enemy rifle grenade exploded nearby, wounding him in the right foot and knocking him to the ground. Cpl. Smedley disregarded this serious injury and valiantly struggled to his feet, shouting words of encouragement to his men. He fearlessly led a charge against the enemy machinegun emplacement, firing his rifle and throwing grenades, until he was again struck by enemy fire and knocked to the ground. Gravely wounded and weak from loss of blood, he rose and commenced a l-man assault against the enemy position. Although his aggressive and singlehanded attack resulted in the destruction of the machinegun, he was struck in the chest by enemy fire and fell mortally wounded. Cpl. Smedley’s inspiring and courageous actions, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty in the face of certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

What did this man die for?

Was it corruptible, or incorruptible?

Which “country” will continue — America: Or the country spoken of in Hebrews 11, of which it is written:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

Therefore, the admonition for us is as follows:

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12:3-4)

We should understand what this war is all about. We should also understand that our Lord and Saviour paid the highest price of all for us — while we were yet His enemies. Thus, no matter how much we do, it will never equal the sacrifice the Lord made for us. Ultimately, we are unprofitable servants. We should at least try to do far better than what we do. We owe it to the Lord out of love for Him.


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