Spiritual Warfare Sunday School

This past Sunday I got to substitute teach in Sunday School.  I was jumping in the middle of teaching on spiritual warfare.  The topic I was to cover was spiritual warfare and church leaders.  I was asked if I would share my notes here so I will.  I wasn’t sure at first, but someone may find something helpful.

Given the time constraints I decided to do an overview will the intention of spurring conversation. Since we’ve all ready covered the general aspects of spiritual warfare from the Christian perspective I wanted to look at the same issues considering pastors/leaders.  Moving to then expand to their responsibilities and accountability before God into the church members’ responsibilities.  Then, take a look at the members’ responsibilities as they relate to the body which in turn protects the body and her earthly leaders.  The emphasis is in the doing since the “easy” part is or can be understanding what to do in spiritual warfare.  For example, one of the key passages of spiritual warfare is found in Ephesians 6:10-20 which is usually easier to understand than it is to act on.

Below is a rough outline with some questions thrown in to stimulate discussion.  The Scripture verses referenced are printed below in my handout and are all from the ESV.

Spiritual warfare review – 2 Cor. 10:3-5, Ephesians 6:10-20.
Are attacked at weakest point?  What other points would be good targets?  Most influential?  For what reasons have we seen church leaders fall in recent times?

Where would pastors/leaders be attacked?
I sent an email out ahead of time quoting 1 Timothy and Titus concerning the qualifications of elders/deacons.  I asked for everyone to think of ways in which elders/deacons may be attacked considering these qualifications.  Are leaders attacked like all Christians?   How about sound doctrine/false teaching?
I read two examples from two friends in ministry of their experience.

False Teaching and Teachers
Reference 1 Timothy & Titus 1:10-11, 13-14.  Why is this so important for pastors/church leaders’?  For whom and why do they need to guard against spiritual attacks?  They are accountable to God for those they watch over: Hebrews 13:7, 9, 17.  (Scripture in handout)

Church members’ (or any Christian’s) role?
How do church members fit in?  What role can we play in protecting the body and our pastors given our biblical responsibilities?
Encourage, admonish, counsel, consolation, exhort, restore (Scripture in handout)  This is a tough area to think about and act on for many.  Our culture doesn’t do well with confrontation no matter how “loving” it may be.  We aren’t always there for each other as we should or even could be.

Dealing with false teaching/teachers/the unrepentant?
As with the above, this is a difficult area.  Today, many (most?) don’t deal well with calling someone out of their sin nor receiving such a call to repentance.(Scripture in handout)


In addition to the handout which contains everything below I also included a one page print out of Praying for Your Pastor by Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III.  Not only is this article good concerning prayer for your pastor, but for any Christian.

The Fight
2 Cor. 10:3-5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints

Accountability of pastors/church leaders
Hebrews 13:7
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

Hebrews 13:9
9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.

Hebrews 13:17
17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

1 Timothy 3:1-13
1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Qualifications for Deacons – 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Titus 1:5-10

5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you- 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. 10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.

False Teaching and Teachers: 1 Timothy
(Outline taken from the ESV Study Bible)

1:3 teaching a different doctrine
3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,

1:6 swerving from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith & wandering away into vain discussions

6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion

1:7 lacking understanding

7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

1:10 practicing something contrary to sound doctrine

10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

1:19 making shipwreck of their faith

19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

1:20 Blaspheming

20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

4:1departing from the faith & devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

4:2 insincere, lying, having a seared conscience
2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,

4:7 perpetuating irreverent, silly myths
7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

5:15 straying after Satan

15 For some have already strayed after Satan.

5:20 persisting in sin

20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

6:10 wandering away from the faith
10 For the love of money is a root of i all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

6:20 irreverent babble and contradictions

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”

6:21 swerving from the faith

21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

False Teaching and Teachers: Titus 1:10-11, 13-14
10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.

Church members’ (or any Christian’s) role

1 Timothy 5:19
19 Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

Ephesians 4:25-27, 29-32
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 18:15-17
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

1 Cor. 5:11-13
11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Encourage, admonish, counsel, consolation, exhort, restore

1 Thessalonians 5:14
14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

Hebrews 3:13
13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Galatians 6:1
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

2 Corinthians 1:3
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

Dealing with false teaching/teachers/the unrepentant
2 Timothy 2:16-18
16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.

2 Timothy 2:23-26
23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

2 Timothy 3:1-9
1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 9 But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.

2 Timothy 4:3-5
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For what it’s worth…


tagged as , in Baptist,Gospel,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yogi Taylor January 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Mark, Wow! That was great. You did a about a thorough job as anyone ever has. I really enjoy it! Good stuff.


2 johnMark January 21, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Bro. Yogi,

Thanks, my friend! I’m glad you found it helpful.



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