Stronghold

Text: 1 Kings 12:25-33

Stronghold is established

  • A stronghold begins with a lie and a temptation
  • Any place there is a fixed set of ideas, a mindset, or thoughts in conflict with revealed truth, you have the beginning of a stronghold.
  • Jeroboam lays the stronghold in Israel in 1 Kings 12:25-33.
    • Idol set up in Bethel which is in Ephraim (Joshua 16:1-4).
    • This sin (1 Kings 12:30) shows up another 18 times until the northern tribes of Israel are destroyed by Assyria.
    • God says Jeroboam made Israel to sin (1 Kings 14:16, 15:26, 34, 16:2, 13, 19, 26, 21:22, 22:52, 2 Kings 3:3, 10:29, 31, 13:2, 14:24, 15:9, 18, 24, 28).  For every king in northern Israel, God records that sin.
  • Started as convenience, pleasurable, enjoyable.
    • Devil possession begins with the flesh being satisfied in temptation
    • The devil takes ground through seduction
  • Religious snare
    • If you believe in heaven and in hell, and you truly believe in the devil and evil and in Jesus Christ and goodness, then it follows that you should literally believe that there is a battle for men’s souls.
    • Religion shows up 5 times in the Bible and 4 times it is bad.
      • Mecca is a snare and a net
      • Vatican is a snare and a net
      • Buddhism is a snare and a net
      • Hinduism is a snare and a net
    • Superstition becomes more important than God
      • Acts 17:22-23 records a people as superstitiously religious
      • Isaiah 8:19-20 – seek the living among the dead,
  • Religion is bloody
    • First murderer was a religious zealot named Cain who envied Abel
    • Matthew 23:34 – scourge in your synagogues
  • Generational snare – 3rd and 4th generation growing up in vain tradition started by Jeroboam
    • Tradition becomes the darkness that blinds the soul from the light of God’s words
    • Tradition takes the place of God’s word – Mark 7:8-9, 13

Stronghold defined

  • It is a place where the devil has seized control.
  • It is a place where an unclean spirit possesses the real estate.
  • And in your own personal life, you know where that place is.  The devil is the primary influence in that area.  It is a wayside area in your life.
  • 7:1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.
  • 2 Chronicles 11:13-15 a stronghold is an area of devil possession

Stronghold strengthened

  • The longer a stronghold is allowed to remain, the more difficult it is to deal with
  • The stronghold gains strength because we give it strength.
  • First, we make excuses for it and justify it.
    • It’s not convenient to travel all the way to Jerusalem when we have everything we need right here.
    • I’ll stop anytime I want to
    • The judgment isn’t that bad.  God understands.
    • Or, I deserve this.  After all I’ve done for God, I deserve this.
  • Then you begin to fight to protect it.
    • Anybody ever preach on your pet sin?
    • Anybody ever say, you ought to quit skipping church?  And you get all bent out of shape about it.
    • What about you ought to stop putting wicked things in front of your eyes?
    • What about relationship that the Lord has clearly said stay away from?
    • What about eating habits?
    • What about getting your tax statement at the end of the year and realizing you spent more on dog food than the things of God?
      • The fight is either violent.  You either threw a fit about it.
      • The more entrenched in that sin you are though the fight takes on a more callous and calculating response.  You pretended it didn’t bother you and that you didn’t have that problem.  Kind of a devilishly cold response.
  • Next, we begin to legalize it.  It becomes law.  It becomes tradition that you don’t touch.  It’s sacred.
  • In you and me a stronghold becomes a place where the enemy’s thoughts seem more credible than our thoughts or God’s thoughts, because they seem to originate within us.  Since those ideas come from within us, we’ll naturally view them as our own.  This is the reason the word of God says, Bringing every thought into captivity unto the obedience of Christ.
  • Many times we have accommodated a stronghold for so long that our personalities are identified with it.
    • We say things like, “I just can’t help it, that’s just the way I am.”
    • Our problem is – we have acted in an abnormal way for so long that abnormal seems normal to us.
    • Some general categories and specific problems that could be classified as strongholds.
    • Categories:  COMPULSIONS, OBSESSIONS, ADDICTIONS, FEARS
    • Specific Problems: Galatians 5:19-21

Strategy of the stronghold

  • Strategy of the devil is to launch more attacks from that stronghold
  • The enemy’s plan is to establish a stronghold in an area of our life and then destroy other areas of our life and establish more strongholds.
  • Becomes a fortress from which Satan launches other destructive attacks
    • It refers to a place of enemy entrenchment or a fortress.
    • A command post from which the enemy works in surrounding areas.
    • He may not have jurisdiction in other areas, but from the place where ideas are accepted he can exert influence over nearby areas.
  • Renders your life fruitless because of his stronghold
    • The devil will destroy the next generation.  I’ll ruin one generation then gobble up the next generation at will.
    • Generational snare – 3rd and 4th generation growing up in vain tradition started by Jeroboam
      • Tradition becomes the darkness that blinds the soul from the light of God’s words
      • Tradition takes the place of God’s word – Mark 7:8-9, 13

Destroying strongholds

  • You are battling the enemy for the spiritual success of your future.
  • Satan knows full well that those strongholds in your life are his edge in preventing fruit and righteousness in your life.
  • We are not at a disadvantage in dealing with the strongholds in our life.
  • Weapons of our warfare
    • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
    • 2 Timothy 2:24-26
    • The written word of God – the truth.  John  8:32, And ye shall know the truth
    • Prayer in the name of Jesus is how we come boldly before the throne of grace to find help in time of need.  Let it be done for HIS sake.
    • Priority of Jesus Christ – firstfruits, first love, give him the first time in your day, the first of your income, the first of your
    • The cross of Jesus Christ – crucified life