Summary: Is the Army of the Lord ready for battle? Do we even know that we are in a spiritual battle? The enemy is constantly attacking. Perhaps we're just wearing the uniform but are not really soldiers of the Lord. Let's get ready!!!
Ephesians 6:10-19 (Please open your Bibles so you can read along)
No one likes war unless they are crazy. People die. People suffer. In war one country is the aggressor, sometimes they both are. Are we in a war? I’m not talking about a war against ISIS or the Taliban? Sometimes war is a long, drawn out struggle.
With that in mind let’s go ahead and read Ephesians 6:10-19
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
“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.”
Do we have an army? No, we don’t, the Lord does.
Who is the army? We are supposed to be.
What are our weapons?
The belt of truth,
the breastplate of righteousness in place,
the gospel of peace,
the shield of faith,
the helmet of salvation and
the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
What is the condition of the army?
Sometimes it is good to get an opinion from those who are outside the army:
“To the eastern religious it looks as if Christianity has reached the stage in adolescence when the child is slightly ashamed of his father and embarrassed when talking about him.” – Buddhist Monk
“The church’s lips are sealed, its tongues tied, either because we lack a thorough knowledge of the Gospel or a conviction about its truth or both.” – John Stott
“All around us we see Christians and churches relaxing their grasp on the gospel, fumbling it, and in danger of letting it drop from their hands altogether.” – John Stott
“Ours is a non-creedal church not because we have no beliefs but because we will not be restrained in our beliefs...we dare not fence the spirit.” – Wallace Robins – Unitarian Universalist Professor and “Pastor”
Here is an unrestrained belief from Neale Walsh, “The fact that God does not care what we do is a sign of how much God loves us, not how little. For freedom to be and to do and have what we choose is the greatest joy of all. It is the biggest treasure and grandest gift that God could give us.”
Why has the army of the Lord fallen to such a level of disfunction?
Is it because we have reduced salvation to the level of just escaping hell and getting to heaven?
Imagine an army that had immeasurable strength but once a person enlisted they went back to the base and hung out with everyone else there until the war was over?
Or even worse, once the person enlisted he went back home and lived among the enemy and was so much like them that they didn’t even notice him or feel threatened in any way.
That is what much of the church is like today.
But, let’s put a correction to our perspective. The army of the soldiers of the Lord is not a life taking army or a wound giving army; instead it is a life-giving army and a wound healing army.
It is an army that goes to those who are spiritually dead and breathes into their dead spiritual lungs the breath of eternal life from the Holy Spirit.
It is an army that goes to those who have been so wounded by sin and the evil one that they wish to snuff out their own life because it is so unbearable and this army brings healing and restoration to that hopeless life.
It is an army whose Commander, the Lord God Almighty, loves and cares for each one under His command and wishes to reach those whose commander is filled with hatred and wishes to destroy them.
This is an army of life.
So, who is our enemy?
The Scripture we are looking at today says that we do not struggle against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual forces, the devil and his demons.
What do the devil and his demons desire? Your destruction now and in eternity.
What is his weapon that brings death? Sin. I know we’ve talked about this many times and sin is easily identified. Sin is destructive to relationships. Just a simple look at the last five of the ten commandments shows us murder, stealing, lying, adultery, coveting. Pretty destructive, huh?
On the other hand, what are our weapons that bring life to those who are lost?
Being filled with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit produces anti-sin but not just anti-sin but righteousness.
Not only does it bring about a right and loving relationship with God it brings about a right and loving relationship with others.
Instead of murder the gift of life through Jesus Christ
Instead of stealing, generosity
Instead of lying, truthfulness