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:
First, 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 are in a spiritual battle with an enemy that is fighting hard against us and the souls of mankind.
Our enemy has a place (abode) over which he seeks to control, manipulate, master, and keep away from the kingdom of God. There’s a battle taking place against the powers of darkness and the kingdom of God. Satan’s abode is fourfold:
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- Our minds. The main arena 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 (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.
“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).
In Matthew 16:18 we are told to take the aggression, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Gates are there to keep things out, so in this verse we are the ones who are moving forward 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). It’s time the church stops retreating and begin making advancement against the gates of hell. Let’s aggressively move forward, wage war against the gates of hell, and take the kingdom by force!
A thief doesn’t warn the owner before 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.
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 need God’s anointing. It’s the power of God that breaks spiritual strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Mountainous strongholds come tumbling down when God’s people bind the strong man (Mark 3:27) and come against the gates of hell (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). Strongholds are coming down, praise the Lord!
When God’s people are set free and strongholds begin tumbling down, alleluias 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). Amen!