Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry - Ephesians 4:12

Spiritual Warfare: Binding the Strong Man

If we want to accomplish anything in either the natural or spiritual realms, we must engage in a spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12). In Mark 3:27 Jesus said, “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”

When Adam and Eve sinned they turned over the title deed of the earth to Satan. Satan is called “god of the world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “prince of this world” in John 14:30 and “prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2. In 1 John 5:19, the Apostle John said, “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the grip of the evil one.” We must “first bind the strong man” (Mark 3:27) if we are going plunder his house – this world over which he rules.

This is particularly true in seeing people “rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). This is what was taking place in Mark 3:14-15 – “He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons,” which Jesus Himself had been doing.

Below are a few insights that will help us in our spiritual warfare to defeat the strong man:

Adversary

First of all, we must realize that we have an adversary. Peter said, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Paul agreed saying, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

We have an enemy – adversary that is opposing the things of God, the church and every born again believer. We are engaged in a spiritual battle – spiritual warfare! We have an enemy that is fighting hard against us, the souls of mankind, everyone who is seeking to do the will of God, and especially men and women of God who are doing what they can to make an impact for the kingdom of God.

“The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12)!

Abode

This enemy of ours has a place in which or over which he abides. Our enemy has a place (abode) over which he seeks to control, manipulate, master, and keep away from the kingdom of God and God’s control. There’s a battle taking place against the powers of darkness and the kingdom of God.

Satan’s abode is fourfold:

  1. The world. Satan is “the ruler of the world” (John 14:30) or “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) until Jesus’ final victory culminates at His return and the “ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:31). People have often imagined the devil in Hell shoveling coal, but this is a fallacy.

    In the book of Job we see Satan presenting himself before the Lord along with the angels. “And the Lord said to Satan, From where do you come? So Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it” (Job 1:7).

    Satan’s abode has been the earth from the time he was kicked out of heaven to this present day (Isaiah 14:12-17, Ezekiel 28:12-19).

  2. The unregenerate. In a sense, all unregenerate (lost mankind) are the abode, under the control of or habitation of the devil. The Apostle John said, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world (unregenerate man) is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

    Paul, speaking of our life before Christ, said, we “formerly walked according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). This is why the strong man must first be bound before people can be set free to come to Christ (Mark 3:27, Colossians 1:13).

  3. Strongholds. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The enemy of God and His kingdom attempts to set up strongholds against God’s people, His church, and anything advancing the knowledge of God in this world. These strongholds must be brought down with spiritual weapons of the Word, prayer and the authority of the believer.
  4. Our minds. One of the main arenas the enemy seeks to set up strongholds is the mind. The context of the previous verse brings light to this. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). The emphasis here is on imaginations, knowledge and thoughts. Our enemy, the devil, seeks to attack (capture) the thoughts of God’s people and mankind in general.

    The devil attacks the mind through deceit, unbelief, doubt, discouragement, trickery, and a host of other ways. In 2 Corinthians 2:11 Paul said, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Devices or schemes is nóēma (a neuter noun, derived from noiéō, “to exert mental effort”) – the mind, especially its final output (systematic understanding). Note the “-ma” suffix which underlines the result of the thinking. For example, the personal verdict that comes out of using the mind. Our enemy seeks to set up strongholds (his abode) in or against our minds.

Arrest

“No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house” (Mark 3:27). Jesus said He gave us “authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19). “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).

Jesus told Peter, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19).

We must begin to exercise our authority in Christ and arrest the demonic hosts of hell that are set forth against us, our loved ones and the Lord’s church.

Attack

We are to to take the aggression, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it – His Church” (Matthew 16:18). Gates are there to keep things out. The gates of hell are set up to keep us out. Instead of getting attacked and the church merely reacting – fighting back, we are the ones who are to be taking the initiative and aggression against the gates of hell.

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Instead of merely reacting to the attacks of the enemy, let’s begin to aggressively attack and wage war against the gates of Hell and the forces of darkness and take the kingdom by force!

Advancement

“The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it – the church” (Matthew 18:18) suggests the church is to be moving forward making advancement against domain of darkness” (Colossians 2:15; Ephesians 3:10). It’s time the church cease retreating and begin making advancement against “The gates of Hell.” Church let’s begin advancing against the gates of Hell. The “violent men take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). We are to be pressing forward and advancing and not withdrawing and shrinking back.

There are four places in scriptures where we are told to press on – advance forward:

  1. Press on to know the Lord. “Let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain” (Hosea 6:3). Let’s make advancement in our knowledge and intimacy with the Lord (Jeremiah 29:13; Philippians 3:10).
  2. Press on in our calling and purpose in Christ. “I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12). We are to press on and make constant advancement in laying hold of our purpose and calling in Christ. This suggests that our calling and purpose may be progressive and unfolding as we move forward and make advancement in Him.
  3. Press on toward the goal and prize set before us. “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Against any and all odds, we must keep making advancement, moving forward and pressing on toward the goal and vision God has set before us (Proverbs 29:18 and Habakkuk 2:2-3). As we do we will lay hold of the prize that is set before us (Hebrews 12:2).
  4. Press on toward maturity in Christ. “Let us press on unto maturity” (Hebrews 6:1). We are to be constantly growing and maturing in our relationship with Jesus. Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). The whole purpose of The Fivefold Ministry is to bring us to maturity in Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13). It doesn’t matter how long we have been serving the Lord, we are to be continually pressing forward toward maturity in Him.

Let’s press on to know the Lord, in our calling, in the vision He has set before us and maturity in Christ, in so doing we will be making advancement against the gates of hell.

Ambush

A thief doesn’t doesn’t forewarn the owner of the home prior breaking into his house. He does it using the element of surprise, when he least expects it. A good example of this is Elisha.

The enemy had come against him and he prayed, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray. So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Then Elisha said to them, This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek. And he brought them to Samaria. When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria” (2 Kings 6:18-20).

God blinded the eyes of the enemy until they were captured. We must take the enemy by surprise if we expect to win the battle. There’s a time and place for sharing our vision with our people and leaders, however, we often do so prematurely and we frequently share our plans with too many and with to broad of a group. If the devil knows all our plans before hand, he will not be taken by surprise. Let’s use discretion in what we share and who we share it with. Some may not be ready for what God has shown us.

Anointing

We can’t fight spiritual battles on our own. “The yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing” (Isaiah 10:27). Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). If we are to break the yoke of the strong man in people’s lives we will need God’s anointing and power to do so. It’s the power of God that pulls down spiritual strongholds in people’s lives and this world in which we live (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

This type of anointing does not come by accident. It takes time seated at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). When Peter was threatened by the religious leaders we read, “Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them… (and) when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:8 and 13).

There are times when the foothold of the enemy in a person’s life or a certain situation may be so strong that it will take seeking the Lord in a time of fasting and prayer to see it broken.

Avalanche

Mountainous strongholds come tumbling down when God’s people bind the strong man (Mark 3:27) and come against the gates of hell under the anointing of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 16:18-19). Praise the Lord!

“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

I decree strongholds are coming down now in the name of Jesus (job 22:28) – Praise the Lord! If we will lay hold of the horns of the altar (Isaiah 64:7), like in the days of old, we will once again see the works of the enemy destroyed. Victory is on the horizon! Let’s seek the face of the Lord and expect great things to be done for His glory!

Alleluia

When God’s people are set free and strongholds begin tumbling down, alleluias will begin to roll. Three times in Luke 15 Jesus said there was rejoicing over the yoke of the enemy being broken. There was the lost sheep (Luke 15:6), the lost coin (Luke 15:9-10), and the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31). Prodigals are coming home and revival is on its way – Glory be to God!

“Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered: let them also that hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them rejoice exceedingly.” ~ Psalms 68:1-3

“Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.” ~ Psalm 60:12

Starting a new church or ministry is one of the most rewarding things you can do to advance the gospel, but it can also be very challenging. With over 40 years of church planting and ministry experience, Dr. Linton's passion is to encourage, support and equip pastors and church leaders.