Nobleton Community Church
September 24, 2023
TEXT: 2 Corinthians 10:1-6
Pastor Paul

When Jesus died on the cross and then rose again from the grave, he defeated Satan and the powers of darkness, and spiritual death. You have been delivered from Satan’s power through the victorious, redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Make sure you keep that wonderful truth in mind the next time you have to deal with the devil’s attack on your life. And don’t try to defeat a spiritual enemy with fleshly weapons and techniques because fleshly weapons are for fighting fleshly adversaries, they were never intended to defeat a spiritual foe. Spiritual adversaries must be fought with spiritual weapons!

Paul makes this point in 2 Corinthians 10:3 when he says, “For though we live in the world we do not wage war as the world does.” The word that is translated “live” in the NIV and the RSV, and “walk” in the KJV, is a compound word in Greek. It is the word peri, which means around, and pateo, which means to walk. When these two words are put together, the new word means to walk around or to habitually live and carry on in one general territory. It is the picture of a person who has walked in one general path for so long that he can how almost walk that path blindfolded. He knows that area well because he has habitually lived and functioned there.

By using the word peripateo in 2 Cor. 10:3, Paul is making a very strong statement about his humanity. He’s saying; “Nearly everything I do, I do in the flesh, I eat in the flesh; I sleep in the flesh; I think in the flesh,; I study in the flesh. My life is primarily lived in this earthly realm.” Although he was a spiritual man, he still lived in a body made of flesh. Because he was beaten and abused severely during the course of his ministry, his physical body permanently bore the marks and wounds and disfigurement of these beatings (11:23-25) and in Gal. 6:17, we read “I bear in my body the marks of Jesus.”

Now having said this, we recognize too, that Paul was a small man, the name Paul means—-“small” or “little” He didn’t argue against the fact that others thought he wasn’t very imposing. Paul was well aware of the weakness and futility of his flesh. He knew when it came to dealing with the devil, he had to turn his attention to the realm of the Spirit.

Now in II Cor. 10 verse 4 we read; “We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.” They have divine power to demolish strongholds.

In this powerful verse, Paul speaks to us about the subject of spiritual warfare. In fact, this is one of the foundational verses on this subject, so it is vital to understand what Paul is talking about.

We need to understand what we are dealing with. What is it that we are destroying or tearing down, or breaking free of? Paul calls them strongholds. A stronghold is an incorrect thinking pattern that has molded itself into our way of thinking. These strongholds have the capability to affect our feelings, how we respond to various situations in life, and they play a large role in our spiritual freedom.

What we call salvation is simply the first stage of God’s plan for reconciling our lives to Him, and conform us in character and power to the image of Jesus Christ. If we fail to see our relationship to God as such, we will allow too many areas within us to remain unchanged. Pulling down strongholds is the demolition and removal of these old ways of thinking, so that the actual Presence of Jesus Christ can be manifested through us.

A stronghold can be a source of protection for us from the devil, as is the case when the Lord becomes our stronghold as He did for David when he was a young boy. But when he was older David allowed his flesh to dictate what he did, when he sinned against God by committing adultery with Bathsheba, and having Uriah her husband killed. Or conversely and opposite, a stronghold can be a source of defense for the devil’s influence in our lives, where demonic or sinful activity is actually defended within our sympathetic thoughts toward evil. That’s what we have the power to do because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul defines strongholds as speculations or lofty human reasoning raised up against the knowledge of God. It is any type of thinking that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, thereby giving the devil a secure place of influence in an individual’s thought-life.

In verse 5 we read; “we demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Ed Silvoso, (a Latin American pastor), defines a stronghold as “a mind set impregnated with hopelessness that causes us to accept something that we know is contrary to the will of God.”

It is important to recognize that when we speak of a stronghold, we are not talking about random thoughts or occasional sins. We are all guilty at times of thinking thoughts that are sinful and not pleasing to God and we should confess it when we realize that, and ask Him to forgive us. But we are talking about areas in your life that you are in bondage to and are having a heard time breaking loose from.

Strongholds come from worldly influence. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2 (that I have mentioned many times), “do not conform to the pattern of this world.” Then in I John 5:19-20 we read; “We know that we are children of God, and that the world around us is under the power and the control of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.”

Many strongholds are a result of an accumulation of un-crucified thoughts and unsanctified attitudes that have ruled our lives during our formative years. As children growing up in a world that is under the influence and the sway of the enemy we received a steady stream of information and experiences that continually shaped our childhood perceptions. This is why the Bible says our minds need to be renewed once we are born again of God’s Spirit.

Just because we are Christians does not exempt us from having strongholds that must be dealt with. There are still many strongholds within us. Common strongholds many deal with are; fear, resentment, bitterness, un-forgiveness, apathy, unbelief, depression, anxiety, luke-warmness, sinful thoughts, lust, pride, greed, —drugs, alcohol, pornography.

In other words; Anything that continues to dominate your life which can affect you physical and spiritual development. Anything that is so dominant in your life that you think you can’t live without it. You can’t live without thinking a certain way, or feeling a certain way, or enjoying certain things.

The first one I mentioned is FEAR. I was speaking about this a number of years ago when I was on tour in churches here in the U.S. –when Jeannene and I were missionaries. I told about how a lady in the Congo was hospitalized because she was sick with fear. She kept getting worse and her vital signs showed that she was about to die. Another missionary who had written a book about dealing with witchcraft, went to see her and was very blunt. He asked her who the indoki was (who was the witch) who had put a curse on her. Without hesitation, immediately she responded, “my uncle.” She had built up such a hatred for him because he had cursed her from having children. She was very afraid of him, and this caused her to become ill and was hospitalized. She was told that she must confess her hatred as sin, and to forgive her uncle, and ask the Lord to put a love for him in her heart. She began to pray this way. She immediately began to improve and the next day she was normal and was released from the hospital. This was something I spoke about when I talked about what God was doing in The Congo.

I stayed with a young couple up in the Akron, Ohio area who had 3 children. Mary had received Christ into her life, when she was 13 years old, and was baptized. Now she was 33 years old and taught a Sunday School class, and she and her husband worked with the youth in the church. She also worked in the church office as an administrative assistant to the pastor. After speaking about fear in their church, at the house that night she began to pour out her heart to me. She said that she could never pray in the first person. She never felt the love of God that she knew about and knew that she should. She never could sleep through the night, and her husband Dave said that often she would get up and go down stairs and vacuum, or clean or sometimes just walk around. I noticed that whenever we talked about spiritual things she would never look me in the eye. When we sat down to talk, she would only sit a few seconds, and then she would be up doing something. I asked her about her childhood, and what kind of influences she had had at home. She told me that from the time she was 8 years old, she was exposed to the witchcraft and occult practices of her grandfather. Then when her grandfather died some years before, her uncle took her to seances, where she would hear the voice of her grandfather. From that time on she said, that she wanted to die. When she was in high school, she and her friends used to play with the Ouigi board and very often when they placed their hands on it, it moved without anyone touching it. Over a period of about a month, we prayed against depression, and a spirit of suicide which began to manifest in various ways. Mary tried to take her life twice during this time, but God always intervened and protected her. She had a hard time believing that God loved her. Finally she renounced all of her association in the past, with anything having to do with the occult. And through prayer, and her beginning to be able to read the Word, she had victory over Satan, and the stronghold that he had placed on her mind.

When identifying your strongholds, survey or examine the attitudes in your heart, every area in your thinking that was influenced by things that the enemy of our souls set up against God. If you are struggling to really grow in the Lord spiritually, or you continually are finding that you can’t live in victory, think about anything that you might have been involved with when you or someone in your immediate family were involved with that Satan could have used to get a foothold in your life, and establish a stronghold. If he was able to do that, every time you try to make progress spiritually, he hold you back and as far as he is concerned he has every right to, because you allowed him to demonize you at some time in your past. If you were ever involved with:

Black magic or curses, or so called “white magic, .occult games like The Ouija Board, (some video games today), seances, clairvoyance and mediums, E.S.P., second sight and mind reading, all fortune telling, psychic reading, , palm reading, tea leaf reading, crystal balls, Tarot or other fortune cards. Astrology and interest in horoscopes, the heresy of incarnation, all contacts with demonic healing, hypnosis under any excuse or authority, water witching or dowsing. Levitation, psychometry and automatic writing; —

-all literature you have read in any of these fields you need to renounce. Your prayer can be; I now break and renounce my involvement with ——name whatever it is you were involved with, even if it was 50 years ago. Anything that has held your mind captive without your knowing it. This could even be something that was done by your ancestors because God’s Word tells us that the sins of the fathers can be passed on to the 3rd and 4th generation.

We need to understand though that we are talking about heresies that come against God and His Word. Anything or anyone who binds your thinking into believing that there is any other way to have forgiveness of sin, and be reconciled to God except through His son Jesus Christ. These are sins that can be passed on unknowingly.

We must use spiritual power to demolish these kinds of strongholds. They are like we read in verse 5; “arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We need to take our thoughts captive, and make them obedient to Christ.

So, to demolish Satan’s strongholds we need to bring our thoughts into captivity, obey Christ, and allow Jesus to establish a stronghold against Satan, and build a stronghold of Christlikeness. This of course can be a struggle, but through the power of the Holy spirit, VICTORY IS SURE.

Strongholds of the enemy, are built upon error and falsehood, its through the truth that you tear down such faulty thinking patterns. Strongholds are built when we accept and receive error and begin to mediate on them. It forms in our minds what is known as an “imagination”, that is, a false concept that we believe to be true, but in reality is not. The Bible speaks about these imaginations clearly, and shows us how they can be torn down.

We must renew our minds like Paul says in Romans 12;2. Our minds need to be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

As our minds are renewed, we may prove or discern what is good, acceptable and perfect, and the will of God. These things are some of the very things that strongholds rise themselves against! Many people who are caught up in shame based thinking do not realize that it’s God’s will and it is good for them to disassociate themselves from their past. Their minds need to be renewed, and as those strongholds come down they will be able to see God’s will and respond.

How are our minds renewed and cleansed? Through the washing of the Word, our minds are transformed and strongholds are torn down. Spending time and meditating on the Word of God washes our minds and corrects our false thinking patterns, that has formed strongholds.

Ephesians 5:26-27 says; “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word; That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

As we meditate and wash our minds with God’s Word, we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and we will come to know the will of God, and discern what is right, perfect and good. Our strongholds, which are based upon error and deception will not stand a chance as the light of God’s Word (the truth), is shed upon those areas of our minds.