Summary: Paul echoes the call for Christians to take a strong stand within our world
A Call to Stand
Series: Armed and Dangerous
June 24, 2007
Leonidas, King of Sparta, was preparing to make a stand with his Greek troops against the Persian army in 480 B.C. when a Persian envoy arrived. The man urged on Leonidas the futility of trying to resist the advance of the huge Persian army. "Our archers are so numerous," said the envoy, "that the flight of their arrows darkens the sun." "So much the better," replied Leonidas, "for we shall fight them in the shade." Leonidas made his stand, and died with his 300 troops.
The Spartan soldiers set an incredible example of courage and sacrifice in the face of battle. They stood against the Persians and held their ground until they died. Jesus wants to see the same kind of courage and strength in our spiritual life. In our battles we have been called to stand.
Our battle is now new but instead is very old. It began shortly after the dawn of time. It began in a peaceful garden and a lie that would change all of humanity. This war is fought not through physical means but rather through spiritual means and sadly we have forgotten our place is not on the sidelines but on the frontlines. Our battle is not about land, material wealth or anything of that nature. Our fight is for the souls of others all around us each and every day.
As we turn to the scriptures this morning I want to look at one of the battle cry passages of the New Testament, turn with me to Ephesians 6:10-13. We are very familiar with the verses that follow this section of the passage but I think that far too often we miss the charge that the apostle Paul issues to us.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12
Our need in times of battle is courage. The English word courage has its roots in the Middle English word corage and the Anglo French word curage which means from the heart. Courage is an aspect of the heart.
Courage means to have mental or moral strength to venture or persevere and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.
Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. Ralph Waldo Emmerson
I. Christians are given the call to be strong (10)
Our strength rests in a person
Paul issues a charge for the Ephesian church and for our church as well. He calls us to be strong because he understood the reality of the battle that we would be facing. The need for strength is clear enough to see because we all have it. The truth is that we have a deep personal need for an inner strength that will give us the ability to get through the daily grind of life. This strength impacts each and every day that we live on this earth and it helps us live faithfully for the next life.
Paul shows this daily need coming into our lives in two related ways. The first is found in God being the source of the strength we so desperately need. The only source of the deep inner strength that gets you through life is God and anything else is just a cheap imitation.
Paul relates this truth earlier in the book of Ephesians.
I pray that out of His glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being. Ephesians 3:16
God has the strength that you need and He wants to give it to you, all you have to do is ask Him for it. Our strength is not in the flesh, it is not in the will of our mind. It is not in the realm of physical means, the strength that we need is spiritual in nature.
Our strength results form His power
The second way Paul speaks of the strength is in the sufficiency of God’s power. Paul is literally saying that everything that we need in this inner strength does not come from within us but rather it all comes from God’s own personal power. In other words; the deepest needs of your life cannot be met by your abilities or your efforts. Instead we must rely on god to give us the strength that we need out of the depth of His resources.