One of the most crucial arenas in which we must win spiritual warfare is in the local church. If we do not take this warfare seriously, we will never be able to accomplish God’s will through the local church. For years, I have partnered in ministry to assist the local church. Thousands of people have been added to local churches through our crusades, both in North America and throughout the world. I believe in the local church, but I also believe that we must fight and win the battle for our local churches before we can truly finish the work Jesus has called us to do.


Right now, we are going to have to take the mask off and face the fact that the devil wants to invade our churches.

GVA Member, Satan wants your church!

He doesn’t just want to fight it, he wants to destroy any ability it has to further the Kingdom of God. He wants to cripple its power and effectiveness. He wants it to be lulled to sleep by complacency or be destroyed by lack of funding. He wants to cause backbiting, spiritual pride, disunity and other things that will keep your church from fulfilling the mandate God has placed over it.

Who’s going to stop the devil?
We are!
I want us to enter into a covenant with one another to bind together with God to declare war on the devil’s war against the Church and defeat the enemy! My heart yearns for the success of the Early Church. I am ready to go into more prayer, more travail and an intensification of spiritual warfare with you against the enemies of the Church. Together with God, we form a threefold cord which cannot be broken!

We will not give up! We will not stop! We will not be defeated!
We will stay in covenant together until the devil knows that we know that he knows we know that we have the victory!


Satan’s plan involves evil elements from the smallest to the greatest. His attacks range from all levels of human weakness. He sends out spirits to cause sin and strife at all levels.

The first area we need to deal with in the local church is the spirit of backbiting.

Is the spirit of backbiting really that dangerous that it is the first area we should deal with in spiritual warfare? Should we really focus on it first?


Backbiters, haters of God…
Romans 1:30

This scripture lists backbiters right next to haters of God. The spirit of backbiting is bent on the destruction of all things godly and the end of those who love God.

A church that is not vigilant against the spirit of backbiting will never master it.

But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is (an undisciplined, irreconcilable) restless evil, full of deathbringing poison.

James 3:8, TAB

The poison of the tongue brings death to the Church through the spirit of backbiting.

It is undisciplined!
It is irreconcilable!
It’s effects must be destroyed!
Gossip about church members and pastors is extremely destructive to the very life of a church. It is the nature of people both inside and outside of church to believe the worst about a situation before they get all the facts. Church members who listen to the lies of the enemy become very discouraged and, in turn, enter into the sin encouraged by the spirit of backbiting.

Sometimes, gossip begins in a manner which seems very innocent. One church member calls up another church member and says, “I’ve got something to tell you so we can agree together in prayer for our church.”

The conversation starts out seeming extremely spiritual, but ends up with one church member spreading unfounded rumors and innuendo to another member who either becomes very discouraged or spreads the rumors to another…or both. This begins what can become an endless spiral of gossip which has the potential to destroy an entire church or ministry.

The destructive force of the spirit of backbiting is formidable indeed. Small churches, small ministries and worldwide ministries alike have sometimes been permanently damaged by the spirit of backbiting.

You might say, “Brother Cerullo, we don’t have that problem at my local church.”

Don’t be so sure. The time to fight against the spirit of backbiting is not when the church has already been half-destroyed by rampant gossip and rumors.

The time to fight is before any damage is done, not after the spirit has a stronghold in the church.

In fact, every church must continually attack the spirit of backbiting so that it will never gain a foothold in the local church.


Warfare prayer designed to confine and destroy the spirit of backbiting must be continuous and powerful. A church that is not vigilant against the spirit of backbiting will never master it.

Remember, this is your church we are warring for. We must be bold, determined and spiritually violent if we are to be successful.

Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting to get in on the action!

Don’t sit like a bump on a log and expect to be some kind of spiritual cheerleader!

Get into the battle with spiritual violence and the determination to destroy the kingdom of the enemy!

Strategically, God has revealed to me that the spirits of gossip, pride and jealousy work together with the spirit of backbiting to motivate both church members and nonmembers to speak evil against the church, church members and pastor. These spirits are pawns of the strong man, which is backbiting.

Or how can a person go into a strong man’s house and carry off his goods—the entire equipment of his house—without first binding the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Matthew 12:29, TAB

We will start our war against this strategic area of ‘attack by warring directly against the spirit of backbiting. We will bind the strong man first, then we will spoil his entire house by binding the spirits of pride and jealousy.

Start now, in your own prayer time by binding the spirit of backbiting from every member and staff member of your church as well as people outside your church who might be influenced by this same spirit. In corporate prayer times in church, this same spirit must be dealt with.

Next, bind the spirits of jealousy and pride. Bind them from working inside as well as outside the church. Don’t leave one area uncovered where these spirits might be working. Don’t give the enemy a chance to act!


After the spirit of backbiting is bound, we must move forward in our warfare for the church and go deep into ourselves to deal with spiritual pride.

Now, we’ve got to take the mask off!

It’s not easy to admit we may have spiritual pride. The very offending pride causes us not to admit its own presence. We’ve got to become transparent before God and allow the Holy Spirit to show us the truth.

Sometimes, when we don’t have spiritual pride, we may not want to admit it exists in our church. Once again, we have to listen to the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth in this area.

Spiritual pride causes the church to be self- sufficient instead of depending on God to meet the needs of the church, both spiritually and naturally. It may cause a church to borrow millions of dollars instead of trusting God to supply for a new building. It may also cause the church to enter into doctrinal error without being checked by the Holy Spirit.

However, the most destructive aspect of spiritual pride is that it causes those outside the church to be repulsed instead of drawn to the Body of Christ. Obviously, this destroys church growth.


When we deal with spiritual pride, we must first come to God with a repentant attitude. By the very nature of the problem of spiritual pride, we may not feel we have any reason to repent, but as the Holy Spirit begins to move in our lives and convicts us of our sin, spiritual pride will be uncovered.

As we repent personally and God covers us in the blood of Jesus, we then move into repentance for the local church as a unit. Our repentance here is important because it bonds us together in the spirit with the rest of the body in repentance. We sometimes feel bonded together with love and the unity of the Word, but we must also be bonded together in repentance.

As we are bonded together in repentance, we actually form a spiritual layer of repentance over the body which filters out pride and false doctrine, but causes those outside the church to be drawn to us rather than repulsed by the spirit of pride.

Then, the power of spiritual pride will fall as we bind it in the Name of Jesus!


The problem concerning controlling spirits has been well documented in the Word of God, especially in the case of King Ahab, who was controlled by his wife, Jezebel. Study the following scriptures:

…Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard, or if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”

But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.”

So Ahab went home, sullen and angry because Naboth the Jezreelite had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” He lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.

His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?”

He answered her, “Because I said to Naboth the Jezreelite, ‘Sell me your vineyard; or if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard in its place.’ But he said, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.”

Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat! Cheer up. I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, placed his seal on them, and sent them to the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city with him. In those letters she wrote:

“Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place among the people. But seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them testify that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”

Once Ahab gave in to Jezebel, she took control of the authority of the Kingdom of Israel.

So the elders and nobles who lived in Naboth’s city did as Jezebel directed in the letters she had written to them. They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then they sent word to Jezebel: “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”

I Kings 21:2-14, NAS

In this scenario, the spirit of Jezebel dominated Ahab and manipulated the situation. Lies and death were the result of controlling spirits. Naboth was a godly man who was destroyed by controlling spirits. Controlling spirits also misuse authority. Note how Jezebel said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel?”

Ahab was powerless to prevent the situation because he had given over his will to Jezebel.

GVA Members, the spirit of Jezebel is alive and well in the Church today!

People are manipulating pastors and churches through many different means. Some people use their money and prestige to manipulate authority and get their way in the church. Some churches are controlled by bankers because of the enormous debt the churches are under. Whatever the source of financial pressure on the church, a healthy solution is only accessible if the pastor and congregation remain steady to do what is right.

Once Ahab gave in to Jezebel, she took control of the authority of the Kingdom of Israel. Ahab was only a figurehead.

How many churches today are pastored by manipulators while the real pastor has become only a figurehead?

Who is the head of the Church? It’s not the largest tithers!
It’s not the bankers!
It’s not the manipulators!

We must go to war for the authority over our churches to be returned to godly men!


In the story of Jezebel, the tyranny of controlling spirits did not happen until Jehu ordered the death of Jezebel.

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window. And as Jehu entered in at the gate she said, Had Zimri peace who slew his master? And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? Who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down; and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot.
ll Kings 9:30-33

Jehu had no mercy on Jezebel. He was determined to destroy her control over the kingdom of Israel. Partners, I’ve got to tell you right now that we can have no mercy on controlling spirits.

Our warfare must be powerful.
Our prayer must be determined.
Our resolve for victory must be absolute!
To destroy the effects of controlling spirits in our churches, we must go straight to the enemy and bind the spirit of Jezebel! We must war against every controlling spirit affecting our churches and see that they cannot operate.

If your church is bound by debt, you must destroy the hold the spirit of debt has on your church.

If the people paying the most tithes are controlling your church, you must bind the spirits of greed and control.

Next, no matter what the source of the control, you must pray that God will give your pastor a divine boldness and determination to lead your church in the way God has ordained. Pray that God will impart such a determination in your pastor that he cannot help but obey God no matter who is offended!

After the stronghold is broken, continue to war on a continuous basis to keep controlling spirits out of your church.


The enemy’s plan to disable the churches of the world always includes bringing financial bondage to the church. A classic scenario begins when a church is flowing in the spirit and God’s grace is upon the church. As God’s blessings begin to flow in the church, new members are added. With the new members comes a desire and fervor to grow. With growth, comes a desire to build.

When a church embarks on a building program, the members sometimes hear from God and sometimes do not. Building programs have been the spiritual death of many churches when not done according to the will of God.

A church desiring to build often takes on millions of dollars of debt instead of building up savings to finance the new building program. This debt brings great pressures on the church and the pastor to finance the ministry. At this point some churches begin to lose integrity. The pastor may water down his preaching. The board may become stingy and stop supporting mission projects and parachurch ministries. The member may feel the weight of the debt and decide it’s time to find another church to attend.


There are two ways to counteract the spirits of financial bondage. The first is by far the best, but is not practical for many churches already in financial bondage.

The first method a church should use to counteract the spirits of financial bondage is to be proactive in spiritual warfare. Being proactive in spiritual warfare means that we strike the enemy before he strikes the church.

If your church is not in financial bondage, you must first bind the spirit of financial bondage so it will not operate there, then pray that a spirit of wisdom continually operates in the leadership of the church. There’s nothing wrong with a church counting the cost before building and raising the money first. It’s much better to have too little room for a time than to have a nice large building and debt too large to handle.

Of course, if your church is already bound by financial bondage, there are a few things you will have to pray in addition to what we have studied above.

The church in financial bondage must get absolutely violent in an awesome display of faith. The chains of debt must be broken from the church in prayer.

In addition to attacking the spirit of financial bondage and debt, confess this scripture over your church in faith:

But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 8:18

God is ready to give your church the power to get wealth. This can work on an individual basis by which the members increase their income by operating in godly financial principles or with financial breakthrough for the entire church in the form of debt reduction or restructuring.

God will also give the righteous the anointing to spoil the enemy and bring finances into God’s Kingdom. Study what was promised to the children of Israel while they were in captivity to Egypt:

And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey…

Exodus 3:7-8

There is deliverance from bondage of debt, which is actually a subtle form of slavery. Confess it over your church and break the chains of financial bondage!

…Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
I John 4:4


The last attack we will deal with in this week’s lesson is witchcraft. There is a real attack of witchcraft against the Church today. Many times when I preach crusades in other countries, witch doctors try to curse me and stop the move of God. These people run and hide when the power of God comes, or sometimes run into the meetings and ask Jesus to come into their hearts!

However, even though we have the power to destroy these kinds of strongholds, we must take them seriously and be ready to confront them at all times.

The Church has made the mistake of not believing that witchcraft and the occult even exist. Some churches which are asleep have even been infiltrated by witches, warlocks and satanists whose assignment it is to recruit new members in their groups.

These enemies of the cross recruit their members by locating the hurting, depressed and rejected people in churches and befriending them. They slowly try to influence these people until they have control over them. Then, they continue recruiting others.

I’m not trying to scare you, but I want you to be forewarned so you can be forearmed.

Other churches are battled from the outside by demonic forces of voodoo, witchcraft and occultic practices. Although, the western world may not experience this warfare as much as it is experienced in Africa, India and the islands of the world, it is nonetheless a real problem all over the world.


The first thing to remember when dealing with witchcraft in any form is that we are not afraid of the enemy’s power.

…Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
I John 4:4

As children of the Most High God, we have nothing to fear from the enemy’s power. God has greater power than all of the forces of Satan combined.

Next, we deal with the outside attacks just as we would deal with any demonic attack. In the Name of Jesus, we bind the spirits that come against our church.

Then, we set a watch. By setting a watch, I mean that we become serious enough about prayer that we organize prayer teams in our church to combat Satan’s forces until they are defeated and the witches, warlocks or witch doctors who attacked are saved, or have no interest in attacking anymore.

GVA Members, you can be so effective in warfare against the occult, that witches or witch doctors will think twice about attacking your church!

The infiltration of people serving the enemy in our churches must be dealt with openly and decisively. People who are not saved should be prevented from any kind of leadership in the church. People trying to gain influence into the lives of hurting sheep must be found and dealt with quickly.

Furthermore, we must do our job to minister to our own people in the church. A hurting lamb will always be the easiest prey for the enemy’s camp.

As we do our job in the church and deal with witchcraft openly and effectively, we will destroy the enemy’s control and win the war over our churches!

Next week, we will study spiritual warfare strategies to tear down the strongholds of the enemy in your city. Make sure you fill out your Soldier Communiqué on page one and return it to me today!

Now, it is time to declare war against the devil’s war against our churches. Turn to the action pages now and break the chains of the enemy!

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