Legion - Week 4
The enemy uses intimidation to keep you from your divine destination. However, we trust in the protection and promises of God knowing that if God has called us to it he will carry us through it.
BREAKING THE ICE
Everyone has an embarrassing fear. What is something that you are afraid of that is funny and embarrassing? Why does it seem silly to have this fear?
EXPLORE AND DISCUSS
Read Ephesians 6:10-20
John Chrysostom was an influential leader in the early church and is considered one of the most influential writers and preachers in the history of the church. In his twenty-second homily he discusses Ephesians 6 and the spiritual warfare Christians find themselves in. Chrysostom writes:
“For this enemy is at war with us, not simply, nor openly, but by “wiles.” What is meant by wiles? To use “wiles,” is to deceive and to take by artifice or contrivance; a thing which takes place both in the case of the arts, and by words, and actions, and stratagems, in the case of those who seduce us. I mean something like this. The Devil never proposes to us sins in their proper colors; he does not speak of idolatry, but he sets it off in another dress, using “wiles,” that is, making his discourse plausible, employing disguises. Now therefore the Apostle is by this means both rousing the soldiers, and making them vigilant, by persuading and instructing them, that our conflict is with one skilled in the arts of war, and with one who wars not simply, nor directly, but with much wiliness. And first then he arouses the disciples from the consideration of the Devil’s skill; but in the second place, from his nature, and the number of his forces. It is not from any desire to dispirit the soldiers that stand under him, but to arouse, and to awaken them, that he mentions these stratagems, and prepares them to be vigilant; for had he merely detailed their power, and there stopped his discourse, he must have dispirited them. But now, whereas both before and after this, he shows that it is possible to overcome such an enemy, he rather raises their courage; for the more clearly the strength of our adversaries is stated on our part to our own people, so much the more earnest will it render our soldiers.
How does Paul describe our enemy? Who is our enemy? How does he fight?
What does Chrysostom mean when he says our enemy uses “wiles?”
Two of the greatest “wiles” used by the enemy are intimidation and deception. In both instances, the enemy presents himself with an authority that he does not have. Those who have received salvation through Christ have been filled and sealed with the Holy Spirit; the enemy has no power to fight against the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Therefore, the enemy must falsely intimidate us to think that he has great power or he must deceive us to take our focus off of Christ.
Pastor Brent defined intimidation as “to frighten or threaten someone, usually in order to persuade them to do something that you want them to do. To make timid. Fill with fear. To deter from some action by inducing fear.”
How does the enemy use intimidation against you?
How does the enemy use deception against you?
What are some things the enemy tries to convince you that you are fighting rather than knowing the true source of the conflict (the enemy).
Pastor Brent stated that the three greatest ways in which Satan seeks to intimidate us is lies, circumstances, and what-ifs.
Read John 8:42-47
What he had twice said more obscurely, he now expresses more fully, that they are the devil’s children. But we must supply the contrast, that they could not cherish such intense hatred to the Son of God, were it not that they had for their father the perpetual enemy of God. He calls them children of the devil, not only because they imitate him, but because they are led by his instigation to fight against Christ. For as we are called the children of God, not only because we resemble him, but because he governs us by his Spirit, because Christ lives and is vigorous in us, so as to conform us to the image of his Father; so, on the other hand, the devil is said to be the father or those whose understandings he blinds, whose hearts he moves to commit all unrighteousness, and on whom, in short, he acts powerfully and exercises his tyranny; as in 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2, and in other passages. - John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John
How does John 8 describe our enemy?
What lies has the enemy convinced you to believe? What lies may you still be fighting to believe?
What circumstances in your life currently cause you to be intimidated?
What confidence and assurance do you have in the midst of whatever circumstances you face?
What uncertainties cause you to feel anxious?
How can you surrender these what-ifs to God?
Read Hebrews 11:1-3
Pastor Brent said that faith and encouragement are the antidote for intimidation.
Read Hebrews 11:1-3
According to this passage, how would you define faith?
How does faith help you stand against intimidation? Deception?
Read Hebrews 3:13
Why is it important for us as believers to encourage one another?
How does encouragement help you stand against intimidation? Deception?
In response to what you have learned in the Word of God through the sermon and small group, what needs to change in your life for you to live confidently in the presence of intimidation?
During your personal study this week, study the theme of resisting the enemy throughout Scripture. What does the entirety of Scripture as the ongoing story of God’s redemption tell us about resisting the enemy?
Use the RANSOM method to study Ephesians 6:10-20
For further guidance on the RANSOM Bible study method see:
For free Bible study resources use:
Blueletterbible.org or Blue Letter Bible app