Demolishing Strongholds

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  10 : 1-6
Subject: Strongholds, Destroying
INTRODUCTION

This passage magnifies the believer’s walk, war, weapons, and warfare. Paul often used the image of a soldier to describe the Christians’ journey.

2 Timothy 2:3-4, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”

Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

Near the end of Paul’s life he gave us these words:

2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

I. PAUL’S DEMEANOR. 1-2

A. EXPRESSED IN HIS ATTITUDE OF HUMBLENESS. 1

A noble warrior’s power is constrained by his compassion and experienced only when there is no other option; patient endurance of offenses; leniency. The character of Jesus expressed.

B. EXPRESSED IN HIS ATTITUDE OF BOLDNESS. 2

Paul was courageous as God’s man for God’s honor and glory. But, they accused him “as if we walked according to the flesh.” Means being controlled by the sinful desires of unredeemed humanness arising in a corrupt heart. It pictures one motivated by evil self-interest, lustful pursuits, and illicit desires.

II. PAUL’S DISCERNMENT. 3-5

A. STRUGGLE. 3.

“we walk in the flesh”

1. Physical Sense.

Galatians 2:20, “the life which I now live in the flesh…”

Philippians 1:22, “But if I live on in the flesh…”

This is a reference and reminder that we all possess a human body with all its present frailties. The ministry does not protect us from human ailments, sufferings, and mistreatment. Christians and non-Christians alike exist in a human body. We are subject to both physical infirmities and all sorts of temptations. (Rom 7:14-25)

2. Spiritual Sense.

“we do not war according to the flesh” (sometimes I do); “according to the flesh” means to pattern one’s lifestyle after the impulses (strong) of the lower unredeemed nature.

“war” – engage in battle; A.T. Robertson – old word to lead an army; military metaphor.

Why not “according to the flesh” – it would be driven by pride, lust, and greed.

A spiritual war cannot be successfully fought with fleshly weapons. It is not human ingenuity, human ideology, or human methodology. If we try to use human methods to defeat demonic forces, these are doomed to fail.

This text in “large letters” warns us of our struggles with supernatural demonic forces.

Ephesians 6:12, “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.”

In 2 Corinthians the work of Satan is unveiled:

- Satan seeks to gain an advantage over the believer 2:11

- Satan is the god of this world. 4:4

- Satan blinds lost people to their lostness 4:4

- Satan opposes the gospel of Jesus Christ 4:4

Therefore, the spiritual walk is impossible on the level of the flesh.

B. STRONGHOLDS. 4

1. DEFINITION.

“strongholds” – fortresses or fortifications; Satan builds his bulwarks of pride, prejudice, and passion in the human heart. He gets a beachhead; they oppose, obstruct, and suppress. Barricaded strongholds, unassailable. This can picture a saint (believer) that nursed a sin in attitude, supported it with their actions, became habitual, and finally now, a stronghold. It can picture a sinner (unbeliever) entrenched.

Have you ever heard of witnessing the gospel to someone who ardently rejected, to which your response was, “I just can’t seem to break-through to them”?

A stronghold is a fortress erected in a territory from which the enemy may launch attacks behind a defense.

In the territory of our souls, it would be a mental attack (Satan has them convinced). Satan attacks through an attitude or an act, turning them into habits. By this he makes a person his servant.

Note his process:

2 Corinthians 4:4, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”

(emphasis is on “who do not believe”)

2. DESCRIPTION.

Ephesians 4:27, “nor give place to the devil.”

“place” – an opportunity; a base of operation, he desires to find a place behind your lines of defense.

In Ephesians 4, Paul listed some of the strongholds, land we gave up that needs to be reclaimed.

Intellectual Foolishness (4:17-18) – futility of their minds, understanding darkened (no discernment/wisdom), alienated from the life of God (heaven seems as brass), blindness of their heart.

Greed and Impurity (4:19, 22) – speaks of uncleanness; deceitful lusts

Dishonesty (4:25) – lying

Uncontrolled Anger – (4:26)

Unforgiving Spirit -(4:26, 32) - wrath (note 2 Cor 2:10-11)

Stealing (4:28) – work so you can give to the needy

Laziness (4:28)

You give place to the devil and devil and he will enslave you with a stronghold. Satan builds a fortress, a pattern of thinking that only the power of Jesus and the blood of Jesus can overcome.

2 Cor 10:4 is powerful in showing us that human ingenuity cannot rescue sinners from the “dominion of darkness” or transform believers into Christ’s likeness. Such weapons gain only superficial, temporary, and deceptive virtues at best.

“stronghold” – fortress; in extra biblical Greek it refers to a prison or a tomb. Fleshly weapons cannot successfully assault the formidable strongholds in which sinners have entrenched themselves.

It’s been said that Satan inhabits our habits.

3. DANGERS

Undetected and un-removed, they will eventually destroy you. No treaty with Satan.

1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Notice who we can find ourselves akin to:

♦ Peter - Pride

♦ Judas - Greed

♦ Ananias & Sapphira - Lying

♦ Demas - Lust

v.5 “arguments”- reasonings or disputations; imaginations; speculations, opinions

“high thing” – a mountain, tower, raised as a barrier; unbiblical system of though exalted as truth. The word for every “high thing” is a word which signifies a mountain and which conveys the idea of something raised up as a barrier, an imposing defense, or a tower. It here suggests something men raise up for themselves so that they can look down disdainfully upon the gospel.

EXAMPLE:

Human philosophies, anti-biblical scientific theories, such as evolution, and man-made religions are all deceptive fancies which oppose divinely revealed truth.

Paul had no intention of fighting them with his own weapons, of pitting his logic against theirs, human reason against human reason. Verse 4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God.”

4. DEMOLISH.

a. Power.

mighty – powerful; unequaled power, power in fact to do anything.

“mighty in God” – through God, powerful for God; used by the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s purpose.

Paul spoke earlier of what led to victory in his struggles:

2 Corinthians 6:6-7, “by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left”

We have the Word of God, Spirit of God, Prayer, Fasting (Esther 4:16 "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!")

b. Promise.

“pulling down” – demolish, casting down, to take down, to tear down walls and buildings. Carries on the military metaphor, to destroy by force.

ILLUSTRATION: Dixie Speedway concession stand during tornado

“weapons” – translates instruments in Romans

Romans 6:12-13, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

Romans 6:19, “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”

We claim God’s promises (His truth) to cast down the wrong thinking that was keeping people from surrendering to God.

Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

c. Principles.

“knowledge of God” – Paul aims to pull down the top most perch of audacity in their reasonings against the knowledge of God. Many place their own explanations above God’s revelation; human speculation versus divine revelation. Paul is speaking of the battle for the minds of people who are captive to lies that are exalted in opposition to Scripture. Paul knew these fortresses well, having lived most of his life before his conversion in one of them. However, on the Damascus Road, his vaunted fortress crumbled under God’s power, and he was led captive to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:16-18, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

You changed Masters!

d. Person.

“to the obedience of Christ” – using God’s truth, believers smash enemy fortresses to the ground, march the prisoners out, and bring them into subjection (obedience) to the Lord Jesus Christ. When Paul was converted, the rebellion of his sinful, proud heart was ended; the walls of his fortress crashed down in ruin, and Jesus conquered his heart.

III. PAUL’S DISCIPLINE. 6

His major concern first and foremost was the church’s obedience, then he was to speak to the disobedience of others; the Gift of Exhortation.

He preached for obedience rather than dealing first with the uncommitted.

NOTE: Who responds to challenge of recommitment? The most committed!