The Kingdom of Evil on Earth

Dallas Willard Part 5 of 8

Rolling Hills Covenant Church had listened to Dallas for over ten years. For this Sunday school class, they asked him to speak less about the spiritual life and more about God and the kingdom of God, about sin and our redemption from it.


Dallas: Today, we are going to talk about the Devil, about evil spirits and if we have time, we are going to talk about hell. Now, everyone can leave who wants to. [Laughter]

You see, we are were going to go in the final three sessions; we are going to deal with Entering the Kingdom of God, Ministering the Kingdom of God and Growing in the Kingdom of God and let me tell you that you cannot deal with those three topics unless you deal with the topic of spiritual warfare. [00:38]

Now, spiritual warfare, like the Kingdom of God itself, is not waiting to happen. Right? Spiritual warfare is something that has been going on for a long while. It was going on before there were human beings. Spiritual warfare is fundamentally between God and some of His created beings—Satan and his friends; and man is caught in the middle. See, you can’t be neutral. It’s like being in a great battle.

In battlefields, as they used to used to have them—that’s kind of being outmoded now but there used to be something called “no man’s land.” If you try to be neutral in the battle between God and Satan, you wind up out here in the middle catching it from both sides. That’s where a lot of fine people are and they don’t know what’s wrong but they are out there getting it from both sides and that’s the general condition in which man likes to think of himself today. Mankind likes to think of himself as sort of neutral, you know? We are running our own show. [2:05]

You know about humanity—a wonderful thing called humanity and human history and all of that stuff. See, human beings, generally speaking, act and talk as if this is a little operation they are running on their own. Perhaps someone came along and told them the story about how they got here by coming through the sludge and the slugs and the monkeys and all that sort of stuff and they said, “Yes, you know, we are just carrying on bravely here. We have our little project here now.” And that’s a total illusion and the illusion of that explains why humanity exists in its corporate form in blindness—blindness. [2:55]

I think I mentioned to you earlier in this series that almost 20 million human beings have been starved, shot, tortured to death by their own governments in this century.

Now when you go back and you look at the wise people in the 19th century, the 18th century or the 20th century who were looking ahead at the future of mankind, do you know what? Not a one of them saw that that was going to happen. Not a one. You can read them. Read Hagel. Read Marx. Read Adam Smith. Read whomever you like. Not a one saw that this was going to happen. Wouldn’t you say that that was a rather major oversight on the part of those who were supposed to know what was going on?  And the truth of the matter is they don’t know what to do about it today. [3:50]

I don’t want to go on into that but if I wanted to spend time, you could just talk quite at length about the blindness of human beings who think that they have this little project called humanity and that they are running. Now, you could talk about it at a national level; you could talk about it at the individual level, see. That’s what every little person gets up and comes forth from the womb and out of the cradle and they go out in the world and now they have their own life. “Well, what are you going to be when you grow up?” “Well, I think I’ll be a such and such.” And of course you get married and you’ll have children and you’ll do all those things and then you look at how things turn out and you ask them after they have been at it for thirty or forty years, “How many of the things you thought were going to happen, happened?  And how many of the things that happened, you never dreamed would happen?” See, that’s the kind of world we live in, is where people are totally blind to the forces that move them. [4:51]

And I just encapsulate what I’ve been saying in that one phrase. People are totally blind to the forces that move them—both together and individually. That’s the part of the blindness.

Now, we’ve been talking about Heaven and I want to give you a one sentence formulation of Heaven—you like one sentence formulations? Well, it’s a good one, all right? [Laughter] It’s a good one. If they are partly bad even, you can sorta remember them but if they are short, Ummm; but now, we have been talking about Heaven and I am hoping that you are getting before your mind some definite conception of Heaven.

When you think about Heaven, what do you think about?  Most people, when they think about Heaven think about funerals.

Comments: Inaudible

Dallas: No? They think about something else? Good. Well, here’s what Heaven is. Take the best possible company you can think of. Think of the people or if you don’t know any like that—the people you would most enjoy being with—[Laughter] Just think of it—the most intelligent, the most free, the most accepting, the most loving, the most capable, the most joyous; now think of the best possible company in those terms. Just put out there an ideal of all the good in human society. [6:31]

Now, when I use that word society, I’m not referring to, you know what we use it today—I mean, the people that you want to be with, hmmm? And then think of the most beautiful setting that you can think of to spend some time spelling it out. Now multiply that by 10,000. You can’t do that, you see. Your imagery won’t run that far but just put 10,000 X in front of that and now then, you are getting close. You are just about to get to the point to where you can think about Heaven. [7:10]

You like to think about Heaven? Listen to these words from old Richard Baxter:

“Men do not go to Heaven and never think of it and to escape the plague of sin, the curse of the law, the wrath of God, the rage of Satan and never think on it, they never do that nor do they use their mind on other matters and find themselves in Heaven before they ever dreamed of it or before their hearts were set upon it. No, if ever God will save you, He will make you consider and consider again and perhaps with many a sigh and groan and bring these things so near your hearts that you shall not only think on them, but feel them. They shall be as written before your eyes. You shall think of them when you lie down and when you rise up as if they were written upon the head of your bed. You shall think of them when you sit at home and when you go abroad as carrying them still with you which way so ever you go. As before God was not in all of your thoughts, so now, He will be the sum and end of them all.” [8:32]

Do you think of Heaven? Honestly? Think of Heaven. Earth will never go right until you think of Heaven.

The old song says, “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” That healing begins now or not at all and it begins through the intervention of Heaven into our lives.  That’s Heaven. Think about Heaven. [9:02]

Heaven is the best possible company you can think of, in the best possible situation you can conceive, multiplied by 10,000 plus a great deal more. Think on it. Think on it. Think of Heaven. [9:19]

You know, there is a scandal attached to thinking of Heaven in churches like this. Now, there is a saying about “being so Heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good” and many people cringe about being Heavenly minded. Did you know that? Many people cringe. You don’t want a Heavenly minded pastor; you want a practical, effective pastor. Hmmm? You get a Heavenly minded pastor; he’s apt to be useless.

Hell is another disgrace today. We don’t have much teaching or much thinking about it and by many subtle—in many subtle ways, we’ve been robbed of the substance of our faith and people have focused on the furniture of hell and thought of it as a little place where people are down there, sort of on rotisseries and being turned over coals and silly little things dancing around them, you know in red suits with pointed tails and all of that and who wouldn’t be embarrassed to think about something stupid like that. The reality is different. [10:46]

I don’t know how much time we will get to spend on that but I have a few words about it on the sheet in case I don’t get to it. I just want to say that we must think of these things. We must put our minds there.

Now, we are in a spiritual battle. We are caught in the middle of it and because it is a somewhat embarrassing thing and it humbles our pride to think about it sometimes, you know. And then of course, people, as I said last time, everything good, Satan will do something to make it silly and so you have these people who are looking, you know, sort of between the leaves of their Bible to find the Devil and under every rock and every plate and everything gets blamed on the Devil, And so you have Flip Wilson, “the Devil made me do it,” you see? Well, the pitiful thing is the Devil may have made him do it, did you know that? Because if the Devil wanted to get people feeling real easy about him, wouldn’t it be wonderful to just put that in the mouth of someone like Flip Wilson and make a joke out of it? Oh mercy, now I’ve got you embarrassed.  [Laughter] All right, well. [12:09]

You believe the Bible so let’s go back to it for a minute. Let’s look at 1 Peter 5:8. Now, there is so much. This is such a rich little passage that I am just going to have to try very hard to stay away from all the other verses. Let’s just look at verse 8 of 1 Peter 5. “Be sober, be vigilant; . . .”

Now, what does that mean? Be sober. Be vigilant. Would you call Flip Wilson sober? Vigilant? Why should be we sober and vigilant? That’s what it says right here, isn’t it? “Because” who?—“ . . . your adversary . . .” Did you know you had an adversary? Hmm. [13:14]

Now, why does Satan fool around with you?  Well, it’s because that’s the only way he can get at God. He can’t do anything about God, you know? In fact, he’s only existing with what power he has in what context he is now in because God has given him permission. God permits him. That’s the only thing that allows him to do it.

You see, an angel is not made in the image of God. Did you know that? They are not made in the image of God and the reason they are not made in the image of God is they don’t have a body. This is getting bad fast, isn’t it? [Laughter] You mean; God has a body? {Laughter] [14:05]

Now, you see, the reason that man is in the image of God is because God gave him a body and that gave him a measure of independent power with which to act. Satan and none of the angels have independent power with which to act. They act in the power that God gives to them.  They have a constant dependence upon God, which we don’t have and that’s part of the project of earth, you see? Why did God ever make things like human beings? Well, it’s really quite a wonderful idea. It has to do with the fact that you are going to have independent beings who learn to love and live in righteousness and fellowship with God even though they have a choice and can live that choice out—play that choice out—and indeed can fantastically develop a whole culture around choice. They can decide to be anti-God, free from God, they think, at any rate. Well, we are going to get into that a little more as we go along but their decision is much less free, much less free than they think especially after they have made the initial choice. [15:25]

Angels aren’t like that. The angels could rebel against God and some of them did but they are still totally dependent upon God. They cannot do a thing; especially in the physical world, they can do nothing. That’s why they want bodies. They want bodies and the agony without a body is so pathetic that Jesus, as we’ve talked about before, even answered the prayer of the demons who said, “Don’t send us into the abyss, let us go into those hogs.” Do you remember we talked about that story? And the hogs couldn’t take it. They are not as strong as human beings are. They killed themselves. This is weird. Maybe we ought to just go home at this point. [Laughter]

Listen to this. “Be sober and vigilant because your adversary the devil . . .” (1 Peter 5:8 Paraphrased) You see? He’s your adversary because he’s God’s adversary. And the only way he can get at God is through you and if you will open up your life to him, he can really do a lot of damage. [16:54]

Now, what’s he like? Well, like “a roaring lion” walking around “seeking whom he may devour.” Now, there is a really important thing to get in that statement. When a lion is about to devour something, does he roar?

Comment: No!

Dallas: No, he doesn’t roar, does he? Lions roar on other occasions so there is something wrong with that description, isn’t there? You see Satan can only get at you through appearance. He can only work through your mind until you open yourself to it and so he comes above all in the form of fearsome appearance. [17:56]

See, most people do the bad things they do because they think something bad is going to happen to them. The world is a terrible place, isn’t it?  Awful things happen in the word, right? So, the big roar of Satan is terrible things are going to happen to you, right? That’s how he devours you is by scaring you. He’s awful in appearance and when he’s able to get ahold of people, terrible things happen because people have allowed him to possess them.  [18:39]

I’m not just talking about demon possession as that’s commonly spoken of—that’s actually the job of some little fellows called humatika. We will come to those in a minute. But Satan uses them and he uses many other devices but above all, he uses ideas and appearances and events and everyone is frightened in this world. Fear is the primary instrument of Satan—fear.

Now, I don’t want to scare some of you worse but look here in the book of Revelation. In Revelations 21:8—look at this list. Who is at the head of the list? [19:43]

Comment: The coward

Dallas: The fearful—the cowardly—why do you suppose that’s there? Why do you suppose that’s there? Because that’s fundamental sin—sorry—that’s fundamental sin.

Now, remember, when we talk about sin, we are not just talking about things people do. We are talking about the condition that they are. Remember, we put “wrung” as wrong on the board last week and the person who is most “wrung”—we talk of people being wrung out—and fear is the primary thing that wrings us out.  They are fearful. [20:23]

See, fear is the fundamental way in which we are approached by Satan to tempt us. He wants us scared. Now, it may be fear that is—has a real horror to it or it may just be that constant little biding thing that sits there and says, “Well, I’ve got to take care of myself. Nobody’s looking out for me but me.” And the Kingdom of God, of course simply invites everyone to come in, lay down all of their fears, and have peace instead.

The opposite of fear in human life is peace. Satan does not give peace. Now, peace has its roots in love and joy—love, joy, peace and then the rest of them there in Galatians 5:22 come from that. But the opposite of fear in human life is peace. Where there is peace, there is no fear. Where there if fear, there is no peace. “He that feareth hath . . .” what? Torment. “He that feareth hath torment.” (1 John 4:19) Now perfect love casts out fear, you see? Because in perfect love, it’s not just that you love others perfectly but that you find yourself loved perfectly. You like to be loved perfectly? I’d like to be loved perfectly and yet in our human associations, even in our families where there is real love, there is practically never a love, which reaches the point where there is no fear of condemnation from the other. Did you know that? [22:25]

Now, sometimes you find a little child in a family that’s like a cat that’s never been kicked and it’s beautiful to see them because they don’t know what rejection is. They don’t know what it is. They find out as soon as they go to school but . . . get a good school and get an “A” in rejection right off. [Laughter]

So, Satan comes like a “roaring lion.” He roars to cause fear and he causes fear because fear is his only weapon that he can actually use on human beings until he gets them under his control—then he can use them—and fear can become much more serious.

“ . . . seeking whom he may devour.” There is nothing that devours like fear.  It’ll eat your stomach. It’ll eat your heart. It’ll eat your brain. It’ll eat your nerves. It’ll eat everything around you. It’ll eat up your personal relationships. Okay—that’s in the Bible. [Laughter] [23:40]

Because your adversary the Devil—be sober, be vigilant—because your adversary the devil is on your trail. When you get up in the morning, you want to recognize that, unless you are in—even in the care of Jesus Christ, you are like a hunted person with someone on your trail and he’s got the resources to stay after you. [24:04]

Listen to this—2 Timothy, second chapter of 2 Timothy—this is advice to minsters—those who would serve the Lord—“. . . the servant of the Lord must not strive—verse 24—he must not strive. Strife is the order of the day in the Kingdom of darkness. That’s how it works is through strife.

Hold your finger right there and let me give you another verse out of James and this is a good verse for us to remember around church houses because sometimes we get so upset with one another because the others aren’t doing right, you know. Listen to this—verse 13 of James 3—“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good behavior his works with meekness of wisdom.”  (James 3:13 Paraphrased)

That phrase is so wonderful—“meekness of wisdom”—meekness of wisdom—“But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, don’t glory in that and don’t lie and say that you are okay.” (James 3:14 Paraphrased) This wisdom descends not from above but is earthy sensual and devilish for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:15-16 Paraphrased) [25:36]

The servant of the Lord must not strive. This is spiritual judo. You don’t beat a world of strife and anger by striving and being angry.  You let them throw their full weight at you and just let them pass over your shoulder, you see? You use the force of their bitterness and anger to convict them of the evil that is in their heart. But you can never do that if you come back at them with the same stuff.

You see, Jesus knew about that. That’s why Jesus didn’t condemn. He said, “I don’t condemn people.” There is plenty of condemnation around—threw Him totally off balance—received the sinful and the wicked as we talked about last time and that upset the people who had a different plan but that’s all right because they didn’t know which side they were on anyway. They had a mistake about that so we don’t strive, you see? [26:49]

“In meekness,” there’s that word again  “ . . . instructing those that oppose themselves . . .” (2 Timothy 2:25) See? The insight is that people are in trouble with themselves. They always think it’s the world. They may think it’s God, but they are really in trouble with themselves. Anyone who is in trouble is in trouble with themselves. Oh, that’s a terrible thing to say and I just pray that the Lord is not going to bring condemnation on any of you because you heard that word and go home and get guilty about it. See?

But we do have to understand that our problem is an internal one and when we begin to approach it in that way, the Lord will help us out of it. “ . . . if God peradventure . . . “ and here’s God talking, “if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the . . . “ who? “ . . . the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:26)

The New American Standard reads, “that they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” [28:06]

James 4:6—I’m just piling these scriptures up on you because I really want you to get the scriptural basis of this teaching now this morning. James 4:6-7—“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Now we are going to be talking a couple of Sundays a little more about what you do to resist the Devil but I am hoping that you are thinking about getting your plan up for doing this. This is something for us to do—being vigilant, being sober, resisting. You know, that’s, key here is to understand that all we have to do is resist. It doesn’t say, “Beat the devil; just resist.” [29:22]

See, that’s because he has no power over us unless we accept him.  Just resist him and what will he do if you resist him?

Comment: Flee!

Dallas: Flee! He will flee.

Finally, now then, Ephesians 6—Ephesians 6—I really should give you other verses in Ephesians; maybe I will, one or two but; yeah, I will. Let’s start with chapter 2—this follows up on these verses now.  This is a wonderful, wonderful—one of the most penetrating, analytic descriptions of sin and salvation you’ll find in all of the New Testament. And the pity is that we normally begin this at verse 8. You know verse 8; everyone knows verse 8 by heart.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) That’s the great declaration of independence from works—grace, faith, not works. Usually we stop there to head off verse 10, which is more trouble.

But I want us to go back just a moment and look at verse 1 and 2 in particular. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and in sin.” (Ephesians 2:1 Paraphrased) Now, being dead in trespasses and in sin is not a static, fixed, motionless thing. Look at verse 2—“Wherein in time past you walked according to this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” [31:50]

Now, this is a different picture of those who are living in evil. It isn’t just that they are out there on their own doing their thing. No, there is a spirit that is working in them. See, the person who is doing evil has opened their lives to a power of evil. And there are many ways that it can come into them. They think they are in control but they are not. See? And you find a person who lives out of Diego Red down in a gutter on 6th and Broadway and what you will find is they think they are in control. [32:42]

I am going to say something really awful now, okay? You find people who are in trouble like that; nearly always you will find a person who is totally absorbed with pride and self-righteousness. Talk to them. You will find out. Most of the messes people are in are fundamentally caused by pride.

Now, these verses we read this morning—I didn’t read it from Peter—but James, and Peter repeats it in the same passage. “God resists the proud.” (James 4:6 Paraphrased) God resists the proud. I have to talk to a lot of people who are in financial problems and I find that in nearly every case, their problem is pride—maybe pride of appearance. See?  [33:42]

I’ll give you a three course—a three-step lesson in how to be humble—you up for that this morning? [Laughter] Okay. Here’s how to be humble. I have a book with twelve pictures in it of myself on humility. [Laughter[ You’ve heard about that? Actually, here is another interesting thing that happens is, we are told to be humble; we are warned about being proud but yet there is a message in the teaching of the church that suggests if you were humble, you couldn’t know it. And that if you were to say you were humble, that would be sheer proof that you weren’t. Now the book with twelve full pages of photos, that’s different, you know? That’s a pretty good sign. [Laughter]

But, after all, if you can’t know when you are humble, what are you going to do about this? Can you know when you are truthful? Can you know when you are honest? Can you know when you are loving? I hope you can! Then, you can know when you are humble. Well, I want to tell you how to get humble. This is the confessions of a failure. Advice from a failure is very precious. [Laughter] If you want to be humble, never pretend. Stop pretending. And for most of us, that by itself will get us there. [Laughter] Never pretend. Now, don’t just not pretend good but don’t pretend bad; don’t pretend anything. Just don’t pretend. [35:14]

Secondly, never presume. I’m even going to give you this in “P’s” so you can remember it. Never presume. That is, never think in terms of “Am I getting my just dues. Do these people understand how good I am and what I deserve?” Never presume. Never presume that you deserve things, understanding, love—all of those sorts of things and then, third, never push. Never push. Didn’t say don’t stand; I said, “don’t push.” Jesus stood. He never pushed.

Remember the prophesy of Isaiah that is repeated in the 12th chapter of Matthew. You can’t hear his voice above the street noise—smoking flax will he not quench. Smoking flax—the candle that has been put out and is still smoking. He just let is smoke; he didn’t push. Everyone around him wanted Him to push. “Get these people out of here. You don’t have time for kids. What are you doing? Get these kids away from here.” Right? What did Jesus say, “Suffer the little children to come unto me for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 19:14 Paraphrased) Push, push, push, push, push, push, push. Never push. [37:00]

Now, if you do those things, you will have wonderful experiences of humility and you will find the power moving through you that is greater than anything you have ever known. It will be the power of truth and love, see? Humble yourself.

God resists the proud. Being proud gives a way for the Devil to move into our lives. It’s associated with anger. Listen to these words from Ephesians 4—“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath; Neither give place to the Devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-17)

Do you know what the difference is between anger, which is good and anger, which is bad? I’ll tell you in a four letter word—pride—that’s the difference. That’s the difference between anger, which is not sin and anger, which is sin. It’s pride.  That’s why a little child, you know, comes stomping in—tearing in saying, “I will never play with Jimmy again.” How long does that last? Well, the wretched little thing has no pride at all. Within ten minutes, he’s thinking about taking a cookie out to Jimmy and seeing if he can’t get the game going again. See; it’s pride. Pride is the difference, and pride gives place to the Devil. “Neither give place to the Devil”—see? (Ephesians 4:27) [38:48]

Now, in this world that’s being described back here in the 2nd chapter in Corinthians, [This is Ephesians 2:2] “Wherein in time past, ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. . .” and the location of these creatures that we have to deal with in so far as there is a location, if this is Earth, planet Earth, then around it is the cosmos; how much air is there? How many miles?

Comment: Sixty miles.

Dallas: Six miles? Sixty! Sixty miles of atmosphere. Is that where the ozone layer is or something?

Comment: Inaudible

Dallas: Yeah!  More or less; okay. So, we stop breathing how far up? When do we have to have oxygen in the airplane? 10—20 thousand?

Comments: About four miles.

Dallas: Four miles—okay. So, you‘ve got a little bitty place here and then you’ve got all the rest of this stuff up here. That’s the air. He’s the prince in the power of the air. Now, I told you this was going to be a shameless discussion today so now you all are embarrassed and thinking—really, is the Devil up there where the airplanes are flying? [Laughter] [40:22]

Well, the main idea here is that Satan is certainly not beneath the surface of the earth. He prevails where man is. Where is man? Man is in the air. That’s where man is. Did you know that? Man is in the air. He didn’t get in the air when he figured out how to fly. Right? So, when we say, “the prince and the power of the air,” what are we saying? He’s a ruler of something called the world and I’ve said some things about that in the handouts. I won’t have time to talk about it today. And where is the world? The world is in the air. That’s where the world is. This is it. Okay? [41:13]

And we get up a-ways, you know, even just building buildings or climbing mountains; that’s where it is so when he says—you now, when he says, “the prince of the power of the air.” Notice it’s tied here. The course of this world, according to—you have two “according to’s” there—“according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. And that prince then is then re-described as the spirit that worketh in who?—the sons or children of disobedience.” And that phrase is a Pauline phrase, which occurs a couple of other places—“children of disobedience.” (Colossians 3:6; Ephesians 2:2)

Remember when Jesus said to James and—what did He call James and John? Sons of? Thunder. Why does He call them the “sons of Thunder?” Well, in the Bible, people will take the character of someone and they will say, “Well that’s what you are a child of. That’s where your character came from. Thunder!” Right? “Children of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3) [42:22]

Why call them “children of wrath?” They are full of wrath. See? [Laughter] That’s why they are called “children of wrath” is because that’s their character. Where do you get your character? From your Mommy and Daddy, right? So, remember, Jesus said to those who came to Him and were trying to figure out to where He was from and He said, “Well look, I know who you are. You are no children of Abraham.”

Why weren’t they children of Abraham? Because they didn’t do what Abraham did, right? See. Abraham didn’t go around trying to kill people and here you are, you are trying to kill me. See, He knew what they were doing. They weren’t prepared to admit this openly but He sort of blew the story on them right in front of everybody and said, “You are trying to kill me, aren’t you?” Yeah! Said, “Well, you are the children of the Devil.” Oh, because he was a liar and you are liars, right?  [43:22]

So, children of disobedience—that just refers to how filled full we are of disobedience and that’s what characterizes human life. There is rebellious will to disobey that expresses itself primarily in terms of, “I am going to run my own life.” That brings us right back to that good ole four letter word—pride. See? Pride is destroyed.

St. Augustine uses that concept of pride to characterize what he called the “city of man.” You know, he has the two cities—the city of God and the city of man. The city of man is characterized by what he calls lust, but lust does not mean sexual lust. It means more like the will to dominate, which expresses itself by the way in sexuality. That’s one of the reasons why there is so much wrong with sexuality in the world is because it is primarily used as a play of domination—an assertion of pride. It’s even tied into—oh well, I don’t know—I can’t go on that. Let’s stop that line right there, okay? [Laughter] Another time, another lecture. [44:30]

“ . . . the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience . . . ” (Ephesians 2:2)—so now when people disobey, are they just going it on their own? Well, they think they are but they aren’t. See, they’ve got something going which is bigger than them.

It’s like the story of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. You know the story of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice? The sorcerer’s apprentice sort of observed what the sorcerer was doing and then when it came time to clean up the shop, he thought it would be wonderful for the broom and the water bucket and all of the rest of that would do their job on their own, so he said the words and of course the water bucket begins to bring water and the broom begins to work and he can’t stop them, right? That’s what—that’s the story of back in Missouri when my Grandpa used to talk about a man who went hunting for a bobcat and found it and had to call for help to turn it loose. [Laughter] And that’s the way sin is—you have to call for help to turn it loose. See? And you have to see it for what it is and then you want to turn it loose. [45:34]

And the main path to the ministry of the word of the kingdom is to help people see sin for what it is and the main task of Satan is to keep them blinded to what it is by whatever device that can be used from the very top of the social order—whatever that may be—to the very bottom—dark down at the corner of Broadway and 6th with a Diego Red. And it’s all one continuous story of illusion, of deception, of misleading and the fear that clouds the mind and makes it impossible to see the sin. [46:16]

Now, let’s look at Ephesians 6. Ephesians 6 is the fullest list of the order that is in the kingdom of evil that is defined in the New Testament. There is an order in this Kingdom. There are different levels of personalities or non-personalities at work. Let’s look at Ephesians 6. Now here again, you see, Ephesians 6, there is a great temptation to just sort of start at verse 13, isn’t there? The great temptation is to just start at verse 13—sounds good—“take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand in the evil day . . .  and having done all to stand, stand therefore having your loins gird about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness and your feet sod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6: 11, 13-15 Paraphrased) and so forth.

Well, we have to go back here—verse 10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 2:10) Just as the children of disobedience are actuated and governed by a spirit it is expected that the children of obedience will have a sort of power. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” [47:54]

Now, the number one failing of our church and teaching ministries is that we don’t teach people how to do this. Hmmm. We don’t teach people how to do it and forgive me if I make you angry but the truth of the matter is that in so many cases, even in some of our most successful churches, we substitute for what St. Augustine called, “a God-shaped vacuum in the human soul.” We substitute a “church shaped vacuum.” And we substitute for being a person who is strong in the Lord and the power of His might, we substitute a faithful, hard working, diligent person and we neglect to observe that you can be a faithful, hardworking, diligent church member without being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. [48:51]

“Put on the whole armor of God. that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” There that is again. See, he’s not only roaring; he’s smart. He’s smart. That’s why he succeeds across such a wide scale and you know his primary point of concentration is precisely the church house. That’s it! That’s where he is the most faithful attender of religious services on the face of the earth. He also attends committee meetings. [Laughter] You don’t even have to have cookies and coffee to get him there.

He attends committee meetings and he really gets in there and works away at people. He’s smart. Being smart, he doesn’t waste his labor. He doesn’t have to get down and punch around on the guy down at 6th and Broadway. He’s got him. He’s got him. That little thing in the bottle there; just turn that over to him, you know? He’s got that fellow; got him by the guts. Got him where just a little uneasiness can keep him totally controlled. That man will never—unless something—a miracle happens to him, he will never break out of that little circuit of self pity, of pride, and of desire to get that thing that comes with that little ole spirit that comes with the bottle. I call it spirits. It used to be called “spirits,” you know?  Alcoholics’ “spirits”—but you know what? They are. They really are because in association with that stuff, there is a little power that—well, one of these little bitty guys here probably; hmmm. Now you say, “But wait a moment, you expect us to believe this in a scientific age?”[51:17]

Well, look, science is good stuff but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and you know, the standing challenge to science is—if it’s so good, why doesn’t it straighten out the mess? I’d welcome anyone to do it. You know? Come on! Scientists, non-scientists, whatever—straighten it out; here it is. The problem is that science doesn’t deal with many things that have to be dealt with and above all, it does not deal with the realm where there is choice and spirits are working—your spirit and mine as well as God’s and the Devil’s and all of the rest of them.

How many spirits are there? There are a whole bunch of them. OK and they have a rank order. Listen to this. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood . . . “  (Ephesians 6:12). Now, do you believe that or not? See. Here’s where the test comes of our faith. When we go to do something as a minster or a Christian, do we believe that what we have to deal with are flesh and blood? Paul says, “We are not wrestling with flesh and blood.” Now, you gotta decide whether you are going to believe him or not. And I know all the silly things again. If you just turn this and make this look so stupid but you have to remember there is one who has a great interest in making it look stupid so that you will not take it seriously.  And above all, that you will not learn how to deal with it. [52:51]

This says, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood.” Now in fact, you know, if we had time to go back and look at those wonderful stories we looked at briefly a few week ago about Jehoshaphat and Asia and all of those who learned in the wonderful words of the prophets, “The battle is the Lords.”

See, these crazy people that sent the choir out in the front line, singing about the faithfulness of God and by the time the soldiers got there with the spears, there wasn’t anything left for them to do. Their battle was not against flesh and blood either. When the whole history of Israel was a failure to understand and realize that, you see? And Israel fell very basically because it’s leaders, even it’s good leaders decided to trust in the arm of the flesh, instead of trusting in God.  [53:58]

Why did they do that? Again, we come back to that theme over and over again because they thought they were running the show. They took it unto themselves. Now, when I go to minster, whether it’s coming here to talk to you or whatever else I may do, I have to constantly understand that my battle is not against flesh and blood. You know what’ll happen if I don’t do that? I’ll start hitting flesh and blood. Flesh and blood will really have a hard time before me. I’ll start using mine to hit theirs and one way or another, I’ll try to outwit them, outsmart them, undermine them, out-political them, and if it gets bad enough, you know, it’s so pitiful how quickly people start thinking how nice it would be if someone else was dead. It goes on all the time. On the top floors of these big buildings down town where people sit around oval tables thinking about how nice it would be if someone else was dead. That’s flesh and blood. [55:05]

It happens in families. Very easily, if you think how nice it would be if someone was dead. That’s flesh and blood. That’s what happens when we go at it in the strength of flesh and blood, but our war is against principalities, against powers; it’s extremely hard to get all of that in English.

Our case is with this principalities; it’s, well, the old English word, principle. [He writes on the board.] Here it is in both spellings because really it means the same thing. It means, sort of the ultimate source.

Another old English term—“spring” is used in literature a couple of the centuries ago–a spring—it also means the first, doesn’t it? –the first, the first—so, there is in the order of evil, these principles—principalities, it says. They are sources with un-derived power; it’s limited but it’s real. [56:39]

And then there are authorities. These are what ekusia is a word that refers to a kind of—it is translated “authority” in many cases. It’s also translated power but it refers to a situation where you have someone who has been given power and now they can act on their own from that. So, like an authority in government is a person who has been given power in that Kingdom and then they can act on that but as the prince in political affairs is often treated as the ultimate un-derivative power.

Then below that in this list, you have a term which shows up in a lot of context in the scripture—cosmokaturus—it really—I put up here, the system directors. These are people who really don’t act on their own. They are pretty much under the control of the authorities but they are the ones that make the system run. They are the ones that make the system run.

And then finally, you have these interesting little fellows here—the spiritual; and it’s interesting to see that exactly the same word is used in this context of the wicked ones as is used in 1 Corinthians 4:1 for the good ones. [58:22]

Now, that I hope you will think about and do a little study on. What are evil spirits? Well, we don’t have any indication in the scripture where evil spirits come from. My own theory—which is entirely theory—is that they are fragmented fallen angels. They are fragments of fallen angels—personality fragments. We know that even on a human level. On a physical level also, things fragment, don’t they? You hit a rock with a hammer, what do you get? A lot of little fragments of rock, right? And I have a feeling that what happened was that when the fallen angels got hit with the judgment of God and were rejected, some of them broke up. [59:31]

See, the angels have an order of being in power in them. Some could not withstand I and so they are just like human beings. If you take everyone in this room and hit them with the same thing, some of them will fragment. Others will bear up in different ways; that’s just true. People are different and these differences are there. They are real in the Kingdom of Heaven and in the Kingdom of Evil.

One of the more interesting passages to look at in reference to this kind of order is in Daniel, the 10th chapter, I believe it is; some of you am recall this. This is a story where Daniel is praying—tenth chapter of Daniel and he is praying and fasting and finally the messenger of God comes to him and in verse 12 of Daniel 10—“ . . . Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” Those of you who pray, I hope will meditate on that. [1:01:59]

What happens when you pray? Why aren’t things answered? We should really talk about that some day. Why aren’t prayers answered and what happens? Well, you have to understand that prayer is entering into spiritual warfare. Prayer is work. This is a tiny dimension of prayer as it affected obviously a very important matter.

“ . . . the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; until finally Michael, one of the chief princes came and blew him away.” (Daniel 10:13 Paraphrased) Hmmm? Ummm . . . the suggestion here is that there are in some cases, high authoritative spirits which have charge of areas—the prince of the kingdom of Persia. [1:02:15]

Now, I don’t want to leave you with all of this without a positive side so look at Ephesians 3:10 with me.  Ephesians 3:10—and this morning, I am just bringing so much before you. I will enlarge on it somewhat, especially week after next but I just want to make sure that I get this out in front of you.

Listen to these words—these are “principalities and powers in heavenly places . . .” Now, we know from the existence of these people that Daniel is dealing with that there are not only bad principalities and powers in heavenly places, right? There are good ones too. So now, look at a verse 10 of Ephesians 3—it’s talking about—Paul is talking about the wonderful gift that had been given him to preach—as verse 8 says, –“to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8 Paraphrased) See, those unsearchable riches of Christ, that’s a part of what I was talking about when I was talking about Heaven where you think it as good as you can and then you multiply it by 10,000 or some figure like that and then you are getting a start of it. [1:03:32]

“ . . . the unsearchable . . .” What does unsearchable mean? Can’t search ‘em; can’t find ‘em all.” Right? The unsearchable riches of Christ. Now these are pretty good. “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ and make all see. . .” (Ephesians 3:8-9 Paraphrased) Now, the old version says, “all men” but the Greek just says, “all.” This says, “all see.” Who is the all? “ . . . What is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” Heaven was created as well as earth.  Remember? “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places . . .”  (Ephesians 3:10)

These two here—he’s not paying a lot of attention in this context to the little one. “ . . . the principalities ands powers in heavenly places might be known . . .” through what? Through the church,” . . . the manifold wisdom of God.”   (Ephesians 3:10 Paraphrased) [1:04:39]

See, those principalities are gonna look down at the company of the redeemed and they are gonna say, “God is so wise because of the goodness that they see in the triumph of the Kingdom in the church.”

What does manifold mean? It means many fold, doesn’t it? It means you have a layer and you turn that over and there is another layer and you turn that over and there’s another and you turn that over and you turn that over and it just keeps manifold—many layers—many levels of wisdom of God.

And what do these principalities and powers do when they see that? What do they do? Final verse—“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name that is above every name.” (Philippians 2:9) Who is that? The one who humbled himself and became obedient unto death even the death of the cross, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, of things in Heaven and things in earth and now, even things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9-11 Paraphrased) That takes it all in. It doesn’t leave anything out, does it? [1:05:55]

“ . . . that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:11) All of these principalities and powers are subject to God and whether they like it or not, they must recognize the manifold wisdom of God.

An interesting little note in the New International Version on the Study Bible on Ephesians 3:10 says, “It is a staggering thought that the church on earth is observed so to speak by these spiritual powers and that to the degree that the church is spiritual united, it portrays to them the wisdom of God.” [1:06:41]

I hope you will be able to take these passages this morning and be able to study them with view to practical application to our lives, to our church, to us individually and to our work.

“Lord, we pray that you will help us to understand the meaning of spiritual warfare in our lives that we should be able to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. In His Name we pray. Amen.

Listen to all parts in this The Soul’s Eternal Anchor series