Summary: Making our stand on the word, and prayerfully advancing in evangelism.
A SPIRITUAL ARMOURY
“Go on being made strong,” begins the final exhortation of this Epistle. Having been made strong in the past by relying on the Lord, so make your stand now “in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Do not yield one inch: do not ‘give place to the devil’ (Ephesians 4:27).
At first sight the language here seems to point us toward a defensive posture. The watchword, after all, seems to be to “stand” (Ephesians 6:11; Ephesians 6:13; Ephesians 6:14). Much of the armor also is protective (Ephesians 6:14-16): but there is no covering for the back, as we are not of those who turn their back to the enemy, or run away.
One other strategy of preparation is to understand what we are up against. This is no flesh and blood struggle (Ephesians 6:12; Ephesians 6:16). We must not make the mistake of the sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-16). ‘The weapons of our warfare are not carnal,’ but spiritual (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
“Having put on” God’s armor (Ephesians 6:11), we are prepared to make our stand. However, the fact that the 'gates of hell shall not prevail against' the faithful church (Matthew 16:18) puts us more on the offensive than the defensive. As we receive the helmet, and take up the sword (Ephesians 6:17-18), we realise that we are in attack mode, and must keep alert (Ephesians 5:16).
The “sword of the Spirit” is “the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
The word is ‘rhema’ – an utterance which proves to be apt for the particular situation in which it is uttered. It is a ‘word in season’ (Proverbs 15:23). The Lord Jesus uses the same word (rhema) when referring to His sayings (John 6:63).
Having made our stand, pronounced our allegiance, and defended the faith: it is now time to move forward. We have a message to proclaim, a word to preach, and testimonies to declare. We have all power and all might as we move forward together, at the command of King Jesus, and in accordance with His word.
Yet there is one more weapon in our armory, and one without which we would surely fail. There is no military analogy for “prayer, all prayer, and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Such prayers are, unashamedly, for our fellow-believers who share with us in the worldwide propagation of the gospel.
Such prayers are also uttered with the help of the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27). We pray for our leaders, our speakers, to be given “utterance” (the word used here is ‘logos’) that will make sense of the gospel to people of diverse backgrounds and situations (Ephesians 6:19). We pray for all ambassadors of the faith – especially those who are held captive for speaking the truth: that they may continue to speak right words, ‘in season or out of season’ (2 Timothy 4:2), with the same boldness and singleness of purpose (Ephesians 6:20).
The battle is not ours, but the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). It is not by our own might, nor by our own power, but by His Spirit that we gain the victory (Zechariah 4:6). The war was already won on the day when Jesus cried, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30).