This last Sunday, Pastor Joel preached on the topic of spiritual warfare. As follow up we wanted to provide you with some helpful links and responses to the text in Q&A. If you have any additional questions feel free to chat with a leader or Pastor on Sunday or talk with your Discipleship Group.
ON SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Got Questions - What does the Bible say about Spiritual Warfare (Article)
Desiring God - Arm Yourself to Battle Satan (Article)
Desiring God - Spiritual Warfare Theology Refresh (Podcast)
Spiritual Beings - The Bible Project (Videos)
Spiritual Inventory Form
SPIRITUAL WARFARE Q&A RESPONSES
How does a Christian discern, when bad things happen in the world, whether the bad thing is an effect of spiritual warfare?
Pastor Joel: We need to remember that in all circumstances, there is always more than what is observable on the surface - there is a spiritual element to everything. In the case of someone getting an illness or disease, it may be that this thing came upon them due to simply living in a broken world where these things exist (John 9:3), or it may be directly connected to some sin or idolatry going on in them or in someone who has affected them (James 5:14-16). In the case of some world power who is acting in an evil way, the biblical authors would have seen those things as directly correlating to the influence of idolatry in that person or those persons, which was seen as one in the same with satanic/demonic powers (for example, King Saul (1 Sam 15:23) narrative or Abimelech in Judges 9:23).
What this means for us is that we can't be too quick to blame spiritual warfare, or too quick to write it off. We have to be spiritually 'awake' when we encounter bad things and prayerfully weigh both the presence of spiritual warfare as well as the relevance to how we respond to that situation.
Do Satan and demons have access to knowledge of the future?
Pastor Joel: We have no conclusive evidence from the scriptures that suggest Satan and demons do or don't have access to knowledge of the future. The closest thing we have are stories like the one today, where the girl 'told fortunes' or stories in the old testament where magicians and prophets of false gods were said to have a similar ability to foretell what was going to happen, apart from God.
Is the example of Paul casting out demons descriptive or prescriptive? Does that happen today non-anecdotally?
Pastor Joel: The example of Paul casting out demons (along with nearly all of the stories in the book of Acts) is definitely descriptive. In order to discern application when we read descriptive texts, we have to consider if there are any principles to be found that are consistent with the call to christians in the scriptures and then apply those. There isn't a clear command for us to 'cast out demons' in the bible, but we are called to warfare (Eph 6:10-18) against the enemy, which in rare cases may lead to the casting out of demons
How do we practice being "for people" not against them? When do we let them go?
Pastor Joel: This is a hard question. In terms of being “for" someone, it means you are always seeking their best interests. Sometimes we don’t know what the best thing is for someone, and sometimes we do know, but people don’t want what’s good for them. Or, in many cases people don’t agree with a christian worldview or believe that idols are even a thing.
In Ephesians 6:10-12 the Apostle Paul says,
" Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
I believe one of the main reasons he tells this to us is so we are able to recognize where the fight truly lies. Oftentimes when we get into a ‘battle’ with another person, it’s because we lose sight of the underpinning spiritual battle. This reminds us that while we should definitely be against the devil and his schemes, we should never use that as license to stop loving someone or seeking to lead them to our liberating God.