Summary: We have a winnable war, because we have a Savior who has already won.
We are continuing our series focusing on Ephesians. We are just a couple of messages from the end line here, but last week we spoke about spiritual warfare out of Ephesians 6, and I started with a story that is a familiar story in history. The prime minster in Britain 1938 was Neville Chamberlain, and Neville Chamberlain made a pact with Adolf Hitler, the German ruler, at that time in hope that war would not come to Europe. It was a non-aggression pact, and basically, what they were hoping was that Hitler was not as bad as they had heard. That he had no other ambitions than just to annex a little piece of Czechoslovakia and everything would be okay. Not only did Chamberlain underestimate Hitler, but he was living in a false hope that there would always be peace and there wouldn’t have to be a battle.
Well, you guys know the story well and Chamberlain was wrong. He was deeply wrong; literally millions of people’s lives were devastated because people didn’t stand up, against a very real enemy. Well, the tide turned as the allies got it together and they began to stand firm so that the German takeover was stopping and the Allied takeover began to advance and it became apparent that they had to get a beach head in the Europe. Europe had been controlled by the Germans. The Allies had to get a beachhead in Europe to take back the land and ultimately have victory. So, on June 6, 1944, the troops landed on the beaches of Normandy. What is known as D-day with blood, sweat, tears and sacrifice of many they got that beachhead.
Everyone knew at that point the war was going to be over. Because once there was a firm place to stand, we knew we had the weaponry, the arsenal. We knew that once we had a firm place to stand we had everything we needed then to march to Berlin and ultimately see victory and freedom for millions. It is the same way in spiritual warfare. Throughout Ephesians 6 we are admonished over and over again to stand firm, to have a place to stand in the Lord. A place where we can stand firm and access all the weapons of warfare in the spiritual war that we are in. That was a natural battle that had huge spiritual implications. I understand that we are consistently in a battle that God intends for us to win, but without standing firm we have no strength to learn from. So this morning we are going to unpack a little about standing firm and the weapons He has given us out of Ephesians 6:13-17.
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and have done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, with the belt of truth around your waist with the breast plate of righteousness in place, with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel. In additional to all of this take up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” So let’s unpack it. That first group of thoughts frames the actual weapons of our warfare. It starts in Ephesians 6:13 where it says, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God.” Not just some of what God has made available, but take it all up because you will need it all because this battle is real. When our oldest daughter Abbey was praying about her future after graduating from high school, we all felt she was to go and be a part of a church that we planted in San Diego, to start her studies there in college. So, the University that they were reaching out to and where she started her studies was San Diego State.
San Diego State is a beautiful place, but it was also listed as the number one party school in California, and also it had some other views that were not the views that she grew up with related to life and how it works. We needed to prepare her for this challenge and so first I listed a few things: you are going to hear some things you have never heard before, you are going to hear some viewpoints that you never heard before. Let’s agree that we will talk about anything that you are confronted with, anything that you have questions about, that you do not understand the terminology of. I remember her calling me and telling me, “Dad my professor says that there are eight different genders.” Well that's interesting, honey. Your professor is wrong, so let’s work that through that. We agreed to dialogue in the midst of opposing thoughts and viewpoints, and make sure that she really understood about boys.