What Preachers Are Fighting – Conclusion: The Enemy

To go to the most recent posts in this series:

What Preachers are Fighting, Part 6: Busy-ness: An American Way of Life

What Preachers are Fighting, Part 7: Let Me Entertain You

What Preachers are Fighting, Part 8: The Great Preacher

What Preachers are Fighting, Part 9: Relativism

I have assembled all 10 parts of the series into one pdf file. If you would like me to send it to you free of charge, let me know via email.


Although much of what we study about preaching relates to the natural world, all of us likely realize that the most important concern of the preacher is supernatural, below the surface, the unseen.

Biblically, that world is a spiritual battleground.

Ephesians 6:10-13
Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies. This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days. Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground.

“This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent…” but it is a wrestling match. To do the work of the Lord is to take on an opponent by the power and grace of God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5a
Of course we are human, but we don’t fight like humans. The weapons we use in our fight are not made by humans. Rather, they are powerful weapons from God. With them we destroy people’s defenses, that is, their arguments and all their intellectual arrogance that oppose the knowledge of God.

If you accept that to preach is to fight an enemy, there are two factors I suggest you consider.

luther-inkwell-4

Martin Luther Throwing the Inkwell at the Devil


First, never sacrifice prayer on the altar of preparation.

It is too tempting to focus on the surface of the message – biblical exposition, structure, illustrations, etc. Those are important, of course, but not the most important. Your enemy would love you wrapped up and entangled on the surface so you don’t play an obedient role in the world of the unseen. Don’t fall for it. If you have to choose between praying and preparing, choose the first. Never go into battle naked.

Second, you can’t judge a message purely on what you see.

We might be tempted to evaluate our messages based on comments we receive. And while those should not be written off, its very likely that you won’t see the value of a particular sermon or teaching with your eyes or hear it with your ears. Because much of the important work is happening in a world you can’t see or hear. In this sense, it’s possible, even likely that the sermon you judge to be your worst is actually your best.

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