WFTW Body: 

There were only two occasions when Jesus spoke about the church - in Matthew 16:18 and 18:17-20. And on both these occasions He spoke about Satan battling against the church. In the first reference, Jesus spoke of Satan attacking the church directly through the forces of spiritual death - through evil spirits. In the second instance, He spoke of Satan trying to corrupt the church indirectly through a brother whom he deceives and captures, and who unconsciously becomes his agent. But whichever method Satan adopts, the Lord has given us the authority to bind Satanic workings, and to release those who are captured by him (Mt.16:19; 18:18; 2 Tim.2:26). We must exercise this authority in the church with all boldness.

Jesus said that the church He builds has one identifying mark : It overpowers the gates of hell (the forces of spiritual death). On the other hand, if a church is itself overcome by the forces of spiritual death - that is, by jealousy, or strife, or a competitive-spirit, or by honour-seeking, or immorality, or the love of money, or worldliness, or by bitterness, or pride, or arrogance, or Pharisaism, etc., then we can be certain that that is NOT the church that Jesus is building.

Satan perpetually seeks to destroy the church. And most of the time, he tries to do this by infiltrating into the church through his agents. Jude speaks of "certain people who have crept into the church unnoticed" (v.4). Like the Gibeonites who deceived Joshua (Josh.9), there are many today who have deceived the elders and pretended to be disciples and crept into the midst of the churches unnoticed. But how did these people manage to deceive the elders? Perhaps because the elders were overawed or bribed by their wealth or their worldly position. In all Babylonian denominations, it is the people who have worldly position or wealth who are able to influence the decisions taken in their group, even if they are not elders. But it must never be so in our midst. If we are not careful however, the Gibeonites will come into the church too.

We praise the Lord that He watches over us constantly to preserve us from such Satanic attacks. "Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen keep awake in vain" (Psa.127:1) It is only where brothers dwell together in unity that the Lord can command His blessing (Psa.133:1) - and only a united church can triumph over the gates of Hell. So the Holy Spirit works mightily in our midst, to preserve us in that unity.

In each of the 7 glimpses of heaven given in the book of Revelation, we see the inhabitants of heaven continuously praising God with a loud voice - sometimes as loud as thunders and as the noise of roaring rivers. This is the atmosphere of heaven - one of continual praise, without any complaints or demands. And this is the atmosphere that the Holy Spirit desires to bring into our hearts, our homes and our churches as well. It is thus that Satan will be driven away from all these places.

Satan has paralyzed the vast majority of Christians, and made them ineffective in spiritual warfare against him, because he has succeeded in getting them infected with the spirit of murmuring and complaining against their brothers and sisters, against their relatives and neighbours, against their circumstances, and even against God Himself.

There is a wonderful word written in Revelation 12:8 that no place was found in heaven for Satan and his demons. This is how it must be in our lives too - in our hearts, in our homes, and in our churches. SATAN AND HIS HOSTS MUST FIND NO PLACE IN ANY OF THESE PLACES.

We overcome Satan, when we obey these exhortations: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in ONE BODY; and be thankful (Col.3:15). I urge that thanksgivings be made FOR ALL MEN" (1 Tim.2:1). Always give thanks FOR ALL THINGS in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father (Eph.5:20). We are exhorted first of all to be thankful for all whom God has called into Christ's Body. If the choice had been left to us, we might not have called many of those whom God has called - especially those who belong to some other group than ours!!! But God's wisdom being higher than ours, even as the heavens are higher than the earth, He obviously had a different opinion about them than we have. And if we are wise, we will re-align our thinking in line with God's. Once we have learnt to be thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ's Body, we can then learn to give thanks for all men and then for all our circumstances. We know that our Heavenly Father sovereignly controls all men and all circumstances. If we really believe this, we will certainly praise God at all times, and thus prove that our kingdom is of heaven and not of this world. Then Satan will lose his power over us. Only then will we be able to wage an effective warfare against him.