Captive (Dictionary): Held under control of another but having the appearance of independence; being such involuntarily because of a situation that makes free choice or departure difficult.
Captive (Bible): Taken; take captive, captivate; plunder, lead captive; make victim by fraud.
One of the recent 7-Minute sermon sent had a focus on spiritual warfare. This sermon looks at the casualties and prisoners of war (POW’s). Today we are in a spiritual war and there are many POW’s who have become spiritual prisoners or captives. There are people who are prisoners to drugs, prisoners to their work, prisoners in a bad relationship and prisoners of spiritual darkness just to name a few. We see these people every day as we go about our work. They know there is a war but just can’t seem to get their arms wrapped around it. They are not sure how to fight or resist in this war! And they are often fighting without the needed weapons! Ephesians 6 provides a list of the spiritual armor God has provided to His children. This armor is mighty when put into action. It is what is needed to go to war.
Last week we discussed 2 Corinthians 10 and it bears repeating:
2 Corinthians 10:3-6: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. (NASB)
Jesus knew the many traps laid by the devil to capture mankind and made it clear He was there to set the captives free:
Luke 4:17-18: 17And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
18“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECA– USE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,” (NASB)
Jesus knew all too well how the religious leaders had strayed from the truth and in doing so caused many to become spiritual prisoners. Jesus spoke directly to the leaders in response to their hypocrisy:
Matthew 23:1: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” (NASB)
Luke 11:52: “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” (NASB)
Jesus strong words spoke truth and His words disarmed His accusers. He revealed their hearts.
People who are POW’s in this spiritual war are often wounded or hurting so bad that they have lost hope. But we have the weapons. We can use these weapons and see POW’s set free! One of our most powerful weapons is prayer. Prayer coupled with the word of God is mighty indeed! I recall a young man I used to work with. He and his wife had joined a church that had led many into spiritual captivity. Our Bible study group at work decided to take a stand for this young man and his wife in prayer. Months later, God set them both free as they read the book of Galatians! It was like a veil had been removed. We told him we had been praying for him and he just could not believe we had stood with him in prayer. It was the power of God’s word.
One of the things I do when traveling by airplane is to look at the faces of people as they walk by in the terminal. More often than not I see sadness, anger, and stress. Most of the people are totally focused on their trip and how to get the best seat. But there are also those who have a smile and a peaceful face. Those trusting in the Lord are at peace. What we have in our hearts is reflected on our face and actions. There will be times when we see the hurt displayed on someone’s face. And in that moment, God may open a door so we can share God’s grace!
Luke 6:45: ”The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” (NASB)
Let us fill our hearts with the word of God and ask the Lord to guide us to those in captivity.
Father God, please use us to reach those who are spiritual prisoners. Each day help us to come along side someone who is struggling. In Jesus name, Amen
Once we walked in darkness,
Hopelessness was our guide.
But Jesus came to set us free,
And that is why He died.