Summary: A message on the spiritual Victory of the Body, preached as part of a series and on Memorial Day.
THE SUPREME MYSTERY – THE BODY OF CHRIST
ACT III: The Supreme Mystery In Action
7. The Victorious Body (Eph. 6:10-24)
IMAGINE: Imagine for a moment that you are in First Century Rome. You are an uncommon Jewish citizen, born in Syria and raised to be a great teacher and preserver of the law. You are a man of power, position, prestige and a future of unlimited potential. But one day, everything changed. On the road and in the midst of a campaign to squash a religious rebellion and cement your political future, you have a powerful and blinding encounter with the risen and glorified Lord Jesus Christ!
From that moment your life has been radically transformed and all of your faculties and energies refocused on proclaiming “Christ and Him crucified.” You are used of God to see thousands upon thousands of souls saved and transformed, and plant many churches. You have accomplished eternal achievements beyond your wildest imagination. But now, you also find yourself bedraggled and hungry in a Roman prison and chained like a common criminal. You have found yourself in the midst of a battle the likes of which you could not have possibly imagined. Only, the mighty Roman Empire is the least of your enemies and worries. No, what most troubles you, what most keeps you awake at night and twists your insides is the thought of all those new brothers and sisters unwittingly (and often unknowingly) targeted and assaulted by great cosmic forces they can not even see nor accurately recognize.
Spending days on end imprisoned within the same surroundings and left with little power beyond your prayers and letters, you are suddenly inspired by these very same surroundings that imprison you. In fact, by the very guard and soldier who restricts you and the full display of his power – his military armor and weaponry. And so, inspired by the Holy Spirit, you write to your comrades under attack . . .
A.)STRONG IN THE LORD (vv. 10-12)
“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.” (v. 10)
The phrase “be strengthened by the Lord” appears in the original writings in what is called the passive reflective. This means that it is something which is received rather than done and that the action is “reflected” back upon the subject. In other words, we are to “be strong in the Lord” in the sense that we receive the Lord’s power that in Him we may strengthen ourselves.
A common rallying cry throughout the Bible (1 Sam. 30:60; Zech. 10:12; Hosh. 1:7; 1 Cor. 16:13).
This idea of living “by His vast strength” has been throughout. It is by this same power that Christ was raised from the dead, seated in power and authority over ALL that is, and from which flows spiritual wisdom (Eph. 1:19-20). It is also the power with which Paul earlier prayed his dear readers would be filled and strengthened from within by the Holy Spirit of God (Eph. 3:16).
2. Armor & Tactics
“Put on the whole armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the devil. (v. 11)
Paul uses the image of his guards to illustrate our spiritual defenses.
Especially note that the emphasis is on the “tactics” of the devil rather than power, physical attack, etc.
Satan’s methods are most often dependent more on various forms of subtlety, distortion and defeat than obvious brute power or frontal confrontation. This is especially true in his attacks upon Christians – which leads so many confused souls to call good evil and evil good.
3. Identifying Your Enemies
For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (12)
First, our “battle” is not against the natural but the supernatural; not against what we see, but what we can’t see; and not against earthly but astral foes. Our real and most important battles are not with Hollywood, the media, Washington D.C., cultists and false religions – but with the demonic forces working through them (usually unknown to their objects of deceit and manipulation).
Second, our “battle” is not simply metaphorical or as part of a strife-filled group or speaking of a distant battle. No, it is deeply personal, individual and directly in our face. Paul’s term he uses for “battle” was often used to refer to the sport of “wrestling” and refers to tight, intense hand-to-hand combat – locked together in battle to the end.
Third, our “wrestling” is a battle that we absolutely can NOT win or even survive according to our own flesh or human, natural power! It can only be won through a supernatural power even greater than that borne against us.