August 1, 2010
[VIDEO of US soldier being shot by a sniper and immediately standing up because of his armor]
Christians are in a battle as real and as dangerous as any battle ever fought. What you just saw happens every day in a spiritual context to believers all over the world.
Our objective is to walk in a manner worthy of our calling; we’ve received some tough commands for husbands and wives and families and even slaves and masters. But the enemy, Satan, makes war against us to see that we don’t obey.
How do we defend ourselves? Paul finishes the book of Ephesians using the Roman soldier and his armor to illustrate our situation and our means of victory.
He gives us…
The Armor of God
1. Believers stand strong and secure when they stand in the Lord (:10-13)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
To “be strong” is the first command. This isn’t optional, but the emphasis is that our strength is in the Lord. This isn’t something we do for ourselves. We’re “in Him.”
Because of this we rest in His might. God can do what no one else can do; He can do what no one else can even imagine.
The word for “Lord” is the same word we saw last week that is translated as “Master.” Paul tells us here to “be strong in the Master.” I don’t think it’s an accident that this statement comes right after the commands for slaves to obey their earthly masters. What does it mean to rest in God? What does it mean to be strong in Him and in His power?
We obey like slaves obey their masters. It’s only through obedience that a person can rest in Christ and share in His power. Remember what Christ told Paul—“power is perfected in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9).
To illustrate even further Paul describes standing firm as a soldier prepared for battle:
11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
To put on the full armor of God is our second command. We’ll define the armor in a few minutes, but for now I want you to see that the armor itself is tied to being in Him. The individual pieces aren’t actions we take but attributes of God.
We’re to put on every piece of this armor so that we’ll stand firm. To stand firm is to hold the line without wavering. There’s no alliance whatsoever with our enemy.
Sometimes Christians want to play with sin, but they need to see that we aren’t in a time of peace—this is full war. To dabble in sin is like wandering around the front lines of battle without paying attention.
Remember what happened with Eve in the garden—“you surely will not die!” (Gen. 3:4). Sin doesn’t look so bad, but God describes it in truth. Right before Cain killed his brother, Abel, God confronted him and warned, “Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7).