Spiritual protection is something that is not taken seriously enough by the twentieth-century church. We tend to forget that there is a spiritual battle going on all the time. Spiritual warfare is not something that we choose to do; we are engaged in it all the time. While we know we are on the winning side because Jesus has won the victory, we must never become complacent. Our enemy is like a prowling lion, looking for someone vulnerable to devour (1 Peter 5:8). We can never let down our guard.

The church model described here provides the best possible spiritual protection for the church.

There are several aspects to this protection

  1. The church is lead by a team of elders. There is safety in their numbers. If one falls the other will raise him up. It is very unlikely that all would fall at the same time.

  2. The elders have strong relationships with each other and are submitted to each other. This produces great unity between them. There is strength in unity. The Holy Spirit is present when leaders are united.

  3. There is also strength in the fourfold ministry. The pastor/teachers deal with hurts or relationship problems that could cause problems. The prophet challenges false ideas and rebellion that could break in.

  4. An elder is watching over each church member.

  5. Each member is submitted to the elders. This gives them protection from any fall, which would make them vulnerable to the devil.

  6. The elders are covering the entire church with prayer.

  7. The people of the church have strong relationships with each other. They are supporting each other. Healthy relationships with other Christians provide even more spiritual protection than submission to elders. The One Another Stuff is more important than the "Submission Stuff" (James 5:16) (see Personal Protection)

  8. If one person falls into deception or sin, their friends will challenge them before too much damage is done. As the person knows the friends love them, they will be willing to accept the correction. (It is easy to fool the elders, but very hard to fool your friends).

  9. If a person is attacked by sickness or evil, their friends will stand together with them in prayer.

  10. If the friends cannot get victory, they can call on the elders for help.

  11. The people are all praying for the elders, so they have strong backing behind them.

  12. The elders are on the outside looking outward, resisting the devil. They stand united against him (James 4:7).

The elders' unity provides protection on all sides. Their prayer provides covering from above.

From Satan's point of view, all that can be seen is the glow of the Spirit in the church and the elders standing like strongmen in unity against him. The Church is like an impregnable fortress.

In contrast to the church, the person on the outside is extremely vulnerable. They are under a grey cloud because they are vulnerable to satanic attack. In the contemporary church, there are far too many Christians (some quite mature) wandering around on their own. There is too much independence and too little submission. In fact, submission has become a dirty word. However, without submission, we cannot be part of the army of God. The chapter in Ephesians on spiritual armour (6) is preceded by a chapter on submission (5). We cannot use the spiritual armour on our own. Even the shield of faith cannot cover our backs. The spiritual armour is only effective when we are standing together in submission to each other.

This is not a retreat from the world. The fortress is spiritual; it is not a physical fortress. A new Christian can go and witness to his drunken friends in the local bar, without going outside this spiritual fortress. Provided he goes with a submissive attitude and with the prayer support of his elders, at the spiritual level, he remains in the centre of the spiritual fortress, while at the physical level, he is in the den of the devil. He is protected by his spiritual armour.

Lack of Spiritual Protection is one of the greatest weaknesses of the conventional church. This a very serious issue.

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