Spiritual Warfare - Lesson 11

Description of Warfare in the General Epistles

In this lesson, you will gain knowledge and insight from the General Epistles, specifically James and 1 Peter. The focus is on the theme of spiritual warfare and resisting the temptations of the world and the devil. James 4 is analyzed, emphasizing the need to humble oneself, cast anxiety on God, be self-controlled, alert, resist the devil, and stand firm in faith. The lesson highlights the importance of using one's strengths for God's kingdom, sharing anxiety within a community, and opposing the pressures and distortions of the enemy to avoid being devoured.

Gerry Breshears
Spiritual Warfare
Lesson 11
Watching Now
Description of Warfare in the General Epistles

I. Introduction to General Epistles

A. Definition of General Epistles

B. Focus on James and First Peter

C. Exploring the Theme of Spiritual Warfare

II. James Chapter Four: Causes of Conflicts

A. Root Causes: Desires and Battles Within

B. Wrong Motives in Prayer

C. The Danger of Worldly Friendship

III. Understanding "World" in the Context

A. World as More Than Just People

B. World as a Dark System Under Satan's Authority

C. Warning Against Adopting a Dark Worldview

IV. The Consequences of Being Friends with the World

A. Enmity with God

B. The Dilemma of Seeking Acceptance from the World

V. The Biblical Call to Resist the Devil

A. The Importance of Verbal Opposition

B. The Temptation to Seek Acceptance in Darkness

C. The Choice to Resist and Oppose

VI. The Six Strategies to Avoid Being Devoured

A. Humbling Oneself

B. Casting Anxiety on God

C. Being Alert and Self-Controlled

D. Resisting the Devil Verbally

E. Standing Firm in Faith and Truth

VII. The Power of Partnership with Christ

A. Humility as Strength and Service

B. Rejecting Anxiety and Seeking Support

C. Vigilance Against Spiritual Threats

D. Opposition to Distorted Truth

VIII. Conclusion: Lessons from the General Epistles

A. Embracing Spiritual Warfare and Resistance

B. Maintaining Faith in a World of Distortion

C. The Power of Humility and Partnership with Christ

  • Discover Dr. Breshears' journey from science to spiritual warfare, debunking scientific explanations for demons. Unveil a seminary student's anxiety battle, uncover curses, theological misconceptions, and inner demonic voices. Prepare for a course on spiritual warfare and staying loyal to God.
  • Gain insights into worldviews within Christianity, including polytheism, American monotheism, and Christian monotheism. Explore the nature of spiritual beings and idols.
  • Gain knowledge of the biblical context of spiritual warfare, the role of supernatural powers in Egypt, the warnings against foreign gods, and the heavenly battles involving angels, emphasizing the importance of exclusive worship of Yahweh and the dangers of idolatry.
  • You'll gain insight into spiritual warfare through Genesis 11, where human defiance led to the scattering of nations and involvement of angelic beings.
  • You will gain insight into a distinct biblical interpretation that views the universe's creation as an act of shaping Eden within a pre-existing cosmic war, and the role of humans in this ongoing battle by cultivating goodness and order to combat evil and chaos.
  • In this lesson, the story of Adam and Eve is analyzed within the context of spiritual warfare, highlighting the serpent's strategy to question God's goodness and encourage independence, while God responds with a call to confession and hints at a future Messiah's role in redemption.
  • This lesson offers an insightful interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, presenting the "Sons of God" as angelic beings who sinned by marrying humans, leading to the Nephilim, linking this perspective to New Testament passages and the symbolism of baptism as a victory declaration against evil forces, deepening your understanding of the nuanced interpretation of these biblical passages and their importance in Christianity.
  • The passages reviewed in this lesson reveal a unique portrayal of God's actions, using unconventional methods. Challenge common interpretations, caution against single-verse doctrines. Embrace the mystery of God's ways, avoiding rigid interpretations when context is unclear.
  • This lesson reviews a passage in Colossians, offering insights into spiritual warfare and the dichotomy between the kingdoms of light and darkness, emphasizing believers' rescue from darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God, forgiveness of sins, and the essential elements of faith, all of which are vital for confronting demonic accusations and oppression.
  • Learn the core of Ephesians: spiritual warfare, dedication to God vs. Satan, moral maturity, and becoming Christ's partner. Emphasizes unity, living in light, using God's Word, and the power of prayer in this battle.
  • Learn to resist the temptations of the world and the devil by humbling yourself, casting anxiety on God, being self-controlled, alert, and standing firm in faith as taught in James and 1 Peter, emphasizing the importance of using your strengths for God's kingdom and opposing pressures and distortions from the enemy to avoid being devoured.
  • This lesson highlights the significance of facing spiritual forces in Jesus' name, stressing that authority alone isn't enough. Faith, confidence, and prayer-driven competence are vital for effective spiritual warfare. It inspires you to confront spiritual battles like Jesus did, with authority and unwavering faith.
  • This lesson delves into a biblical narrative highlighting Jesus' authority over evil spirits. It emphasizes the transformative power of His deliverance and the profound change it can bring to those tormented by demonic influence.
  • This lesson provides deep insights into Satan's fall in the Bible, covering Old Testament passages (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28) linked to it, addressing their ambiguity. It also discusses withholding Satan's name due to his evil nature and how Jesus broke his authority in the New Testament, though he remains a threat to believers.
  • This lesson delves into the intricate dynamics between believers, demons, and the world in the biblical context. You'll uncover Satan's mysterious role in Judas's betrayal of Jesus, posing questions about the motivations and divine alignment in this pivotal event.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge of how Jesus confronted temptation and spiritual warfare, emphasizing three essential steps: quoting Scripture to the devil, commanding the devil to leave in Jesus' name, and shifting your focus from demonic attack to Jesus' provision.
  • This lesson explores 3 Deliverance Ministry models: 1) Classic - resist Satan's temptations, 2) Power Encounter - deal with sin before casting out demons, 3) Truth Encounter - dispel lies, reclaim identity in Christ. Dr. Breshears prefers the Truth Encounter model while allowing for diverse biblical approaches.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights on dealing with the demonic from a biblical perspective, emphasizing the triumph of Jesus over Satan, the ongoing spiritual battles, the importance of faith in the midst of adversity, and the need to follow biblical patterns while avoiding unnecessary fascination with evil and excessive fearfulness.
  • This lesson explores demons and Satan's impact on believers, emphasizing that even righteous individuals can face their influence. It reveals how deception, curses, and accusations can create strongholds in belief systems, perpetuated by Satan. Demons exploit weaknesses, desires, and ignorance, leading to destructive behaviors. The lesson ends with the assurance that believers are never abandoned by the Holy Spirit.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the Dr. Breshear's approach to identifying potential demonic influence in people's lives, focusing on areas like accusing voices, oppressive presence, and occult involvement. He emphasizes the importance of assessing these influences when individuals face issues like anxiety, addiction, or persistent problems. By probing into their experiences and thoughts, the goal is to recognize and address these negative influences, ultimately seeking to remove them from the person's life.
  • This lesson provides insights into assessing potential demonic influence in individuals' lives, offering strategies to distinguish personal issues from demonic influences and empower individuals to confront and overcome such challenges with the authority of Jesus Christ.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the controversial topic of demonic influence and possession within Christianity. The lesson explores the various meanings of "possessed" and the debate surrounding whether a Christian can be dominated or influenced by a demon. It emphasizes that while ownership by a demon is generally denied, the extent of demonic influence remains debated.
  • You will learn a comprehensive approach to address demons in a pastoral setting, emphasizing individual empowerment, cooperation, and the transformative potential of confronting these malevolent forces to achieve freedom and healing.
  • This lesson discusses curses, demonic attacks, and their real-life impact. It highlights curses arising from disobedience, similar to God's curse in the Bible. The lesson promotes rejecting curses and dedicating spaces to God while emphasizing that curses have power only when received, suggesting turning to Jesus for protection and deliverance.
  • Explor the nature, influence, and tactics of demons, dispelling myths of immunity in the US. While prayer and fasting aren't mandatory, living as children of light and invoking Jesus' name is key. Demons may exploit unconfessed sin, deceive, and dwell in specific places. Believers confront them with Jesus' authority, engaging in spiritual warfare to deliver the oppressed.
  • Dr. Gerry Breshears discusses some of the main teachings of the Bible on Spiritual Warfare and then participates in a live question and answer.

There is an ongoing battle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Followers of Jesus, who are in the kingdom of light, have been given authority by God to command demons. By studying Jesus' life and other passages in scripture, we can gain insights into how to respond to the influence of demons effectively.


Spiritual Warfare
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Description of Warfare in the General Epistles
Lesson Transcript


We want to look at what some people call the General Epistles. I'm not quite sure why they're called the General Epistles, but that's the category form. So I want to look at James and 1 Peter and looking again at the same theme of what's it telling us about this whole warfare thing. James chapter four, it sounds so current. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires of battle within you, you desire but not have so you kill, you covet. It can't get you on. So you quarrel and fight. You have not because you ask not God. When you ask you don't receive because you ask the wrong motive. You may spin on what you get on your pleasures. Man, he had a prophetic gift. He's seeing the 21st century with incredible accuracy. Either that or they're just like nothing new under the sun. It's just [inaudible 00:01:01] "You adulterous people." He says kindly, "Don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity with God." Therefore you choose to be friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

So I ask myself here, what does world mean that can have a wide range from the planet, more or less to just people that Jesus died for John 3:16 type thing. But this is more like what Jesus says when he said, "The world will hate you. In this world you will have troubles." And that world is not just people in general, but it's a world system that's actually the darkness. And that world that's under the authority of Satan is what he's talking about here. And what he's saying to the people there that he's writing to James is that you are acting like your darkness, not light. Remember the Ephesians 5:8, "You were darkness. You are light in the Lord, therefore live who you are, live as children of light." That's what he's saying here. And he's warning in strong words, if you're friends with that is act like be a relational part of the darkness, you become an enemy of God.

Now that should just, at least for me, that scares me because I'm the enemy of God, that's not how I want to be described. I really don't want to be described as an enemy of God. But what he's saying is, "I try to adapt myself to where I can be accepted by the world. I'll become enemy to God." And what I hear in so many churches today is we've got to be in the right side of history. We've got to be relevant to this world. And that's what he's talking about here. Friendship with the world means enmity with God. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

That's a scary word. But this is the battle that we're talking about is we be beautiful bride for his precious son or we be friend of the world. And that's what he's talking about there. So this is why scripture says, "God opposes the proud that shows favor to the humble. God gives grace to the humble." And then verse seven, "Submit yourselves therefore to God, resist the devil and he'll flee from you. Come near to God and he'll come near to you. Wash your hands, your sinners purify your heart. You double-minded grieve, mourn, whale so on. Change your laughter, the mourning. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up." He's calling us here at the same time he says, "Don't be friends with the world. Don't live in such a way that the world, the evil system, applaud you, resist." And the word there resist is the [inaudible 00:04:15] me. Same one that we saw in Ephesians six. Resist stand firm here. It's resist verbally oppose the devil, speak truth to and against the devil and he will flee from you.

"Come near to God and he will come near to you." So the point is drawn near to God. And then Satan, when you speak, rebuke rejection to him, he will flee. So in all the conflicts, all the desires that we do, all the context, its unity, pride, killing kindness, resists the devil. Because what the devil is doing is to encourage. You've got to be accepted by those guys over there. He will encourage, empower, explored our desire to be liked. And I do want to be liked. But the thing it is, I can't be liked by the world and be liked by God. And that's where the problem comes.

So to be opposing to be resisting that when they're in James chapter four, verse seven, means not only a psychological attitude but a corresponding behavior to oppose, to be hostile, to speak rejection, resist actively oppressed by opposing power, pressure. I mean it's that kind of stuff. When it says there, "Resist the devil." That's not just an attitude, that's actions following that to speak verbal truth and to speak verbal rejection of the God is doing.

Of course that means a discernment behind that. But that's a powerful passage. Submit yourself to God, resist the devil. He will flee. Come near to God, he'll come near to you. And I have to ask, "Would I want to be near to?" I will often frankly get more active acceptance in the darkness initially than I will in the light. Do you notice that? I hear all kinds of stories about deconstructing people who when they do that, they're immediately lauded in the darkness. If you get somebody who leaves darkness and comes to light, you've got a lot of growing to do yet. If you want quick like the darkness is a good place to be. Now it won't last, but if you want a quick response, quick power, the darkness actually does better than light short term. But the longer term, I want to be friend of God, which means I need to submit. Going back to Genesis, it means I need to accept what God says about what's good, bad, not what it seems to me.

And God says, "Feed your enemy." Romans chapter 12, I want to feed maybe some bleach to my enemy. Which one's the right way to go? See? And that's the thing, will I trust my instincts or will I trust God's judgment? That's the question we're asking. It was very concrete when it says, "Resist the devil, he'll flee from you. Be known for your humility and gentleness and those kinds of things, not your wimpiness, but your humility." James chapter four. Similar phrasing comes up in 1 Peter 5, "To the elders among you." He says, "I appeal as a fellow elder." And he gives direction to the elders, the team that guides and guards the life and teaching of the church. And I've been an elder at my church, Grace Community Church in Gresham for more than a quarter of a century. And I was elder in another church before that. And before that I was. So I've been doing this a long time and those instructions are still really important. "Shepherd the people guide and provide for them, watch over them. Eager to serve, not giving commands, lording it over, but being examples."

And that's the kind of thing that that's where spiritual war comes in because the temptation is to just power up and make them do it kind of stuff. But he goes on, those are younger, "Submit yourself to your elders. All you close yourselves with humility toward one another." That's the mutuality. Everybody should be humble. And then he quotes the same thing back in James, "God opposes the proud shows grace to the humble." And then he has here in these next verses six things, the middle of them is your enemy, the devil prowls along like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

And I find myself thinking one of the contrary, we'll look at, can a demon be inside a believer who is the temple of the Holy Spirit? We'll postpone that discussion for a bit. But what this is saying is if you're not careful, you can be devoured by the devil so a believer can be inside the devil, the roaring lion. Now don't overdo the analogy, but what he's saying is the enemy is wanting to devour you and you must not go there. So how do you get there? How do you not be lunch for the devil? And he gives us six things back in verse six. The first one is, "Humble yourself." Really?

I thought I'm supposed to be like assertive, "Humble yourself." Under God's mighty hand, they might lift you up. So the first thing there is, "Humble yourself." In the history of the church, there's the St. Jean's Litany. In the original, it's a, "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up." You get that in some of the contemporary music as, "Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up higher and higher and He will." Somehow the emphasis got changed there somehow. It's humble yourself. So that's the first one. We'll come back to that in a minute. What's the second one? "Humble yourself." Second is what? Verse seven. "Cast your anxiety on him because He caress for you." Okay, so it says, "Do something with your anxiety." Third thing, "Be alert." Or another way of saying is, "Be self-controlled." Or sorry, "Be alert and then be of sober mind."

What does sober mind mean? Well, if you're drunk, it means you're out of control. I've got a friend who's abused, ironically by a pastor who gave her alcohol to relax her so he could work sexual stuff on her. Yeah, that really makes me mad. But what the alcohol did in that situation was so that she was not in her sober mind and would not be self controlled, but be controllable. So be alert, be self-controlled or in control of your mind. Then it's got your enemy, the devil prowls around. And in verse nine, is the fifth thing. "Resist him." That's the [inaudible 00:12:50] me. That's the verbal opposition. And, "Stand firm in your faith. Stand on the truth of who you are." So six things there, six things. "Humble yourself, cast your anxiety in him. Be alert, be self controlled to sober mind, resist, stand firm." Six things to keep you from. So unpack this a little bit.

What's the opposite of humble yourself? Now if there's in class, I'd make you speak it out. I can't do that through the means of this good video stuff. Humble yourself. The opposite of humble is to be.


Exalt yourself, be arrogant. The opposite of humility is to be bristly, contentious. The opposite of humility is to be self-sufficient, those kinds of things. That's the opposite. So instead of being arrogant and bristly, be humble. Does that mean I make myself nothing? Does that mean kind of suicide for myself? I don't think that's what it means. If I think about the English language, over here I've got self-ish. Over here, I've got selfless. So this is all about me. This is not about me. I think those are both wrong. Submit yourselves does not mean to have no opinions or desires. What it does mean is a realistic view of me that takes into account my strengths and my weaknesses realistically, but even more so is to have my strength been a control for service of the kingdom. So we have strengths, different people have different strengths, and whatever strength you have, whether it's something that you're born with or something you've developed, use it for God's kingdom. That's what I was talking about.

So humility is not nothingness. Humility is strength under control. So, humble yourself means bring your strength in the service of God's kingdom for his purposes, not I have no opinions and no desires. Such the humble yourself. Cast all your anxiety on him, what would be the opposite of that? Well, that's to hang on to anxiety, to indulge the anxiety, to define myself by my anxiety. Those would be different kinds of things. Cast your all anxiety on him. I don't this means that I have no anxiety. I don't think this means that I'm never concerned about something and never troubled by something. What it means here is I don't hang onto it instead of taking onto it and keeping it within myself or denying that I have it. It means bring it to God and his people so we can share it as a group.

So it's what you do with your anxiety rather than... Well, leave it at that. Self-control, sober minded, what's the opposite? Well, instead of being self-controlled is to be indulgent or impulsive. Sure, whatever. That was pretty easy. Alert. Alert the opposite. It'd be clueless or apathetic. So if you're walking through a graveyard and you're 15 years old and you're walking through the graveyard with your best friend, should he be alert? Yeah, you should be alert for rattlesnakes because my pretty wife was walking through the graveyard in her hometown in Arkansas with her best friend, was not alert and got bitten by a rattlesnake. That's got an extreme example. But be alert. There are rattlesnakes out there, so to speak. Demonic rattlesnakes, be alert for them and then resist him means giving into pressure. There's a lot of pressure, but resisting means I verbally oppose what's going on. Standing firm in the faith rather than believing what's popular or what's comfortable.

So when I think about humble yourself, cast your anxiety on him instead of hang on to it. Be self-control instead of reckless or impulsive. Be alert instead of clueless or lazy. Resisting being a positional toward as opposed to yielding or giving into pressure. Standing firm means being scripture oriented. Foundational what scripture says is truth versus what's popular or comfortable in my... And that's what he said is the secret to not being devoured by roaring lion. This is kind of a PAC study here, but I actually think this is really fruitful to think this through. And again, a lot of the enemy's work is to distort truth in his favor. So again, humble yourself for many means to have no opinions, no desires of any kind. And it doesn't mean that. It doesn't mean to deny yourself. It means bring yourself under in beautiful partnership with our savior, our covenant partner, Jesus. So resist the devil. He will flee from you. Resist and stand firm in the truth of who God is. That's a pretty powerful lesson there from the General Epistles.