Summary: Paul saved the heat of battle for the end of the masterpiece known as the Book of Ephesians. This message can help any serious believer to be more effective in God’s Army.
Truths from Ephesians Part 8
Armor and Spiritual Warfare
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
Read verse 10.
“Finally” This word rings out with authority. It carries within itself the weight of finality. As Paul wrote the last section of Ephesians, which starts with this weighty word, “Finally”, He was coming to the conclusion of a masterpiece.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the book of Ephesians begins with what God has done for us, because of His great love. In its first two chapters, it unfolds the mystery of the God of all eternity working to give eternal life to the likes of us. Chapter three continues with an explanation of the holy task that God has given to the apostles and prophets.
Next, Ephesians gets up close and personal with each of us, in expanding the explanation of that holy task to include the equipping of all believers, so that we can do the work of God’s kingdom, fully equipped for that task by the correct operation of not only apostles & prophets, but also evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
As we grow up into spiritual maturity, the characteristics of a life of love and servanthood are to be ours. This is made clear in the second half of chapter four. We put aside our old natural ways of living and put on the new self, which rose from the grave in Jesus Christ when he arose. Then we have power triumph over sin’s lures; power to forgive and be kind; power to share only wholesome and fitting words, and power to walk free of all bitterness and wrath. In Christ, we have been given the power of tender hearts.
Chapter five continues expanding the way of life we are called to. Such things as immorality, greed, and impurity are not even to be on the table of consideration. We are to personally avoid all such things, and also expose them to the light. The middle part of the chapter reminds us of the importance of staying filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking the word of God, and singing spiritual songs; all of this with an attitude of thanksgiving.
This great chapter continues on to personal relationships, starting with the need for all of us to submit to one another. Then come the Lord’s instructions for married life. As Chapter six begins, we receive wisdom for the raising of children, God’s instructions for children, and His expectations for both workers and employers.
Now, today, finally, we come to our warfare as believers in Jesus Christ!
Do you know that you are in the Lord’s Army? I’m not kidding here. If you have genuinely been born again, by trusting Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, you are in God’s army. You may not feel like a soldier. You may not like armies. You may choose to ignore this, but it is true nevertheless!
When you and I stand before God on the Day of Judgment, one of the areas we all will be examined in, as believers, is how each of us did as a soldier in God’s army.
With this in mind, let’s look at God’s plan for us in this dimension of life.
Read verse 11.
God’s armor is complete and effective. The reason that most of us do not achieve more with it, is that we sort of forget about it. Other things crowd it out of our thinking. The Devil would much rather have you think of yourself as a victim, or just see you unaware of this whole dimension of the godly life, rather than face you as an alert warrior of faith. He wants you to think that you are basically powerless. God has a totally different plan. Let’s look at it now.
Read verses 12 & 13.
This is quite a revelation. This passage makes reference to such spiritual enemies as the fallen angels mentioned by name in the book of Daniel. You may remember that Gabriel, God’s messenger angel, mentioned to Daniel, two enemies called the prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece. Before Gabriel could get through to Daniel, he had to fight at great length against the prince of Persia. He was then going to go fight next against the prince of Greece.
There are also many lesser spiritual enemy powers which dominate regions, cities, neighborhoods, households, political institutions, secret societies, clubs, etc. We, all of us, are literally called to war against these fallen angels and demons. The armor of God must be appropriated for this, or we become easy marks for the enemy to take out of the battle.
Read verse 14.
Truth, like the Roman soldier’s belt, holds it all together. If we are soaking in the truth of God’s word, then we can “Gird our minds for action.” (I Peter 1:13) If we are trying to be successful in the arena of spiritual battle without an ever increasing knowledge of and obedience to God’s word, forming a deep well of the “water of the Word” inside of us, we will fail. All soldiers are called to be disciplined. Daily quality time in God’s word is part of our discipline for success. The Roman soldier’s belt also provided a holster for his sword. More about that later…