Spiritual Warfare in an Urbanized World
Outside, the broad boulevard fronting our church building, was blocked creating a two block space for
the Red Moon Theatre’s Halloween extravaganza, All Hallows Eve Ritual Celebration.
In the unseasonably warm dusk, people headed into our evening service, walked through a smoky haze
of ceremonial fires. The sounds of chants set to native drumming helped create a haunting atmosphere.
The event flier referenced “guiding the souls of the dead into the next world.”
Inside, I was preaching through Revelation. I had not foreseen the alignment of Halloween falling on the
Sunday we came to the text “. . . you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” (Revelation 2:12-17)
No church drama team could have set the stage for this message more powerfully.
After Jesus, the apostle Paul must be considered the world’s foremost authority on spiritual warfare.
Though he references the battle with darkness often and in different ways, he never writes a whole
book or even an entire chapter on the subject.
Demon preoccupation is not something Paul indulged in. Rather, he gave attention and writing space to
the power of God, the glories of Christ, and the operation of the Spirit.
Paul, the urban evangelist/church planter, knew what it was to do hand-to- hand combat with the
powers opposing God. From Acts 19 we know Paul was experiencing the power of God in significant
ways while founding the Ephesian church. Here, he encounters evil spirits working through the seven
sons of Sceva. Here, the Word of God prevails and “a number of those who practiced magic arts
brought their books together and burned them . . .”.
Later he writes to this church “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but . . .against the spiritual
forces in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Two Pauline passages could be called significant on the subject. 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 “For though we
walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh . . .” and Ephesians 6:10-20 “Put on the full
armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” . . .
This is my line of thinking. “God so loved the world.” God loves people. He sent Jesus to save people.
All of His efforts through the Gospel are aimed at people. God’s Spirit centered His work on people,
sending Paul to the cities.
Where is Satan, God’s opponent, going to focus his work? Is it unreasonable or far-fetched to believe
Satan centers his attention and efforts on people?
The description in Ephesians seems to indicate the forces of spiritual darkness are organized. Then
surely there is an objective and a strategy. The objective is to oppose God’s primary work on earth, the
evangelization of humanity.
Is it far-fetched then, unreasonable, or eisogetic, to think Satan and his forces are amassed and hardest
at work where the masses are, the cities? Cities run the world. The powers, forces, and influences that
dominate our world emanate from cities. Satan’s work in the city follows the logic of God. God’s work
in the city is leveraged for greater impact and influence. Satan’s work in the city gets more bang for
the buck through the urban influence that impacts the rest of the world.
We live in an urbanized world. The forces that are at work in the cities now touch, color, if not dominate
the rest of the world. Wherever we live, we breathe urbanized air. Urban winds create currents that
rustle the leaves everywhere. The Satanic work that takes place in and around cities affects the whole
Along with a host of other subjects foreign to American evangelicals, having distanced themselves from
cities over the last 100 years, spiritual warfare has not received much time or attention, never mind
studied and taught.
Americans, in our slick, sophisticated, westernized, anglicized, homogenized Christianity, have virtually
ignored the reality of Satan and the power of demonic forces. We have relegated them to distant
jungles and foreign sub cultures ignoring the fact that they are a reality in our everyday lives.
Across the country it seems our urbanized culture is eating the believer’s lunch.
Is not Satan’s chief weapon deception? Is not his chief deception to keep us from even knowing or
recognizing he is present and working?
How, then, shall we prepare for spiritual warfare in an urbanized world?
1. Satan is no less real now than when he tempted Jesus.
2. Satan is no less active now than he was in opposing Paul
3. Satan is no less deceptive now than he was in the Garden of Eden.
4. We are to be sober and alert. (1 Peter 5:8&9).
5. We are not to give place to Satan in any way, shape, or form (Ephesians 4:27).
6. We are only to fight with spiritual weaponry (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Ephesians 6:11).
7. We are to understand and operate specifically in the power of the blood of Christ (Revelation
8. None of this is to be done alone. New Testament Christianity is in community. The authority of
Jesus has been placed in the local church. (Matthew 16:19; 1 Corinthians 5:4) We are to be
spiritually connected and accountable so we can function in the authority of Jesus over the
power of Satan (Luke 10:17).
Charles W. Lyons, Senior Pastor
Armitage Baptist Church
2451 N. Kedzie Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60647
H: CWL/Urban Currents/2017 Urban Currents/Spiritual Warfare in an Urbanized World