(Definition) What is a stronghold? A stronghold of Satan is a dispiriting, dogging work that attaches to someone and refuses to depart. It’s horrible. It isn’t there for any beneficial purpose. And it only surrenders when Christ’s power is exerted against it.
Strongholds manifest in the form of worry, unnatural thoughts, persistent evil desires, paranoia, some sicknesses, internal heaviness, or oppression. Their only intent is to afflict, harass, burden, and unnerve. But know this, they can be broken! “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!”
(Transition) I want to discuss the steps to breaking Satan’s strongholds. First, recognize your delegated authority.
The premise, the primary principle, for Believers breaking strongholds is recognizing your authority to do so. Christ has granted you power to defeat the enemy of your life.
(Quote) In the book, Weapons of Your Warfare the author wrote:
It’s . . . your authority to stand up and declare that the spiritual powers of darkness will not lord over your life. They won’t rule you. They won’t govern your behavior. They won’t govern your thought life. They won’t pull you into sin. As a believer in Jesus Christ it’s in your power and authority to stand and say, “Jesus is Lord.” (Larry Lea, Weapons of Your Warfare, Creation House Pub.) Amen! Ungodly habits shouldn’t govern you; temptations shouldn’t control you; an inferiority complex doesn’t have to dominate you; fear and worry shouldn’t master you. The lordship of our life belongs to Jesus Christ and when we trust and submit to that lordship victory is secured. If this premise isn’t understood all the hope in the world won’t budge a stronghold.
That’s what Jesus is showing us in our text. Look at verse twenty-seven: “no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.” Jesus is showing us that He’s stronger than the strongman. That He can break upon the strongman’s domain and plunder his goods. That was His point every time He expelled a demon. And He wants us to understand that. But that’s what we so frequently fail to comprehend!
Romans 6 says we are dead to sin; but do we actualize that?
Paul says we’re free from sin’s dominion; but do we appropriate that freedom?
The Bible says our old man has been crucified with Christ; but has that become a reality?
None of this becomes a reality if we don’t believe it’s true! We have to affirm Christ’s lordship and declare “Yes” and “Amen” to God’s promises in order to claim them.
(Question) When have you last affirmed the lordship of Christ over your circumstances? When have you last declared:
Jesus has bound the strong man!
He’s the resurrection and the life!
Jesus breaks every fetter!
He sets the captives free!
He changes times and seasons and the powers of life and death are in His hands!
When have you last declared: He’s the Captain of my salvation?
That darkness becomes light before Him and the winds and waves are quelled at His command?
If you believe in Christ’s preeminence you need to declare it!
(Transition) Point two: In order to break strongholds one must exercise faith.
The story of David and Goliath is familiar. Young David’s decapitation of this nine foot giant has been told thousands of times and from many angles. But for the moment, I want to focus on the faith of this young hero. Turn to 1 Samuel 17:32‑37 and let’s read.
1 Samuel 17:32-37 (Read)
Notice how the Bible pictures Goliath:
He’s pictured “over nine feet tall” (17:4).
He wore a bronze helmet with armor weighing over 125 pounds (17:5).
He wore bronze guards on his legs and carried a brass javelin across his back (17:6).
The tip of his spear weighed about 15 pounds (17:7).
He even had a shield‑bearer that went ahead of him (17:7).
That’s an impressive warrior! But despite that imposing description of Goliath, David defeated him! Here’s what you need to know about David’s triumph over Goliath: This nine-foot giant wasn’t defeated when the stone sank into his forehead. No! Goliath lost this match before David ever retrieved one stone from the brook. Goliath met his defeat the moment David recognized and believed the Covenant of Deliverance from the Word of God. You see, faith has knowledge! It isn’t blind or ignorant! Hebrews 11 says: “By faith we understand. . . .” That means faith “knows.” No believer launches out in faith without the knowledge that God will uphold His promises. You may not know how God will accomplish His plan, but you know His Word won’t return void.
Think about this: The Israelite army that wouldn’t move against Goliath and his forces had plenty of faith. Their faith was simply misdirected! Israel’s faith focused on Goliath and believed he was invincible! Consequently, they were paralyzed with fear every time Goliath blustered against them. That’s what misappropriated faith does. It paralyzes your march against the enemy. And that’s why you have to keep faith properly focused.
Many Christians possess a generic faith that knows God is greater, but when they face an imposing situation something in the pit of their stomach doesn’t coincide with what’s in their head. In conversation they speak of God’s power to deliver; In Church they sing of His omnipotence; but on the battlefield they don’t dare take a leap of faith. If your faith is misplaced it’s time to reposition it in Christ because He towers above every stronghold! And the devil is always defeated on the battlefield when faith in Christ arises in your heart.
(Transition) Recognize your authority, believe God and march toward your stronghold. “Faith without works is dead.” And the next step necessary for breaking Satan’s stronghold is to demonstrate God’s power.
(Illustration) I heard the story about the seminary professor that drove into the campus parking lot. Before getting out he snapped “the club” onto his steering wheel. He stepped out, locked his doors, and then activated his alarm system. A student saw what happened and said: “Doctor, don’t you believe in the sovereignty of God to protect you vehicle?” The professor replied, “Son, you know I teach the sovereignty of God. But I also believe in the total depravity of man to destroy it!”
There are times when we have to act on what we believe. It took more than David’s heartfelt faith to whip Goliath. It took a demonstration of what he believed. He combined action with faith. And that’s exactly what 1 Samuel 17:40 says happened: “he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.”
Did you see that? David squared his shoulders and walked directly toward the giant. When he stood within shouting distance he said, “Hey loud mouth, look here.” (This is my version, you can tell the story your way when you get the opportunity.) But the devil is loud. He’s always boasting and threatening. And there comes a time when Satan needs a dose of his own medicine, and that’s what David gave him. David shoved Goliath’s words right back down his throat and told him he would feed him to the vultures. He then loaded his slingshot and with one shot sank the stone between Goliath’s eyes. Running directly to the unconscious giant he took Goliath’s sword and severed his head.
The Church needs more of David’s mentality. The mentality that says: “I know Satan is imposing; I hear his threats, but I serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I serve the God who parts the seas, dries the rivers, and halts the sun and moon. And His power will defeat the enemy.” There’s a time to intellectualize your authority over Satan, there’s a time to believe God for the victory, but there’s also a time to engage the enemy. The Bible says: “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Satan is dislodged through resistance. Much of God’s army today is like Saul’s army. They’re waiting for someone else to come along and deal with the devil.
(Illustration) Several years back, I accepted an out of town preaching engagement that required several hours of driving. I piled the family into the minivan at 11:00 pm the night before I was to speak. The kids were young and immediately bunked out for sleep. After several grueling hours of fighting sleep and weaving from one side of the road to the other we arrived in the town where I was to speak. Instantly my nine year-old son popped up from the back like a jack-in-the-box and said, “Well, that trip wasn’t so bad!” He then walked into the house like he had done something incredible.
That’s fine if you’re a kid, but if you’re supposed to be a mature Christian Christ expects you to fight the enemy and not always depend on others. You have to take action! God’s power is unleashed when a believer acts on His Word. And if we don’t act, the power isn’t unleashed!
Jesus knew that. That’s why He confronted storms, lepers, the lame, and the blind. He wasn’t afraid to deal with Satan. Acts 10:38 says: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and . . . went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”
As our Example, Jesus ministered the way He wants us to minister. And we are not only called to minister with our temporal resources, we’re called to minister with supernatural resources. And since Acts 10:38 shows that Jesus was empowered to minister by the Holy Spirit, that’s what He expects of us.
Today’s church will fall short of its destiny unless it demonstrates God’s power. Matthew 10:7‑8 says: “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ (8) Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
God calls believers to demonstrate their faith in Him! Somebody says: “Aren’t you afraid of being embarrassed if you step out and nothing happens?” No, I’m afraid that I’ll miss God’s power if I don’t step out! Matthew 16:19 says: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Don’t be afraid to confront your strongholds. “Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world”!
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