Summary: We must be prepared at all times and not allow evil to get into our lives. We need God’s truth, righteousness, gospel of peace, sword of the Spirit and salvation to fight off any evil that we encounter.
Ephesians 6:10 – 18 reads, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all saints –“ Blessed be the reading of God’s Word.
“We are at war.” We’ve heard these words from our Secretary of State, our president and the media since declaring war on terrorism. Billions of dollars have been poured into international and domestic security. American troops have been deployed and fighting in Afghanistan. A whole new color-coded system has been invented to make the American public aware of how high the terrorist threat is every day. Our nation has been preparing itself for the next possible terrorist threat.
But there is an enemy that is more dangerous that Al-Qaeda. There is a foe that is more insidious than Osama Bin-Laden or Saddam Hussein. This enemy is what our Scripture speaks about this morning. The Scripture talks about the principalities, the powers and rulers of darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness. What makes it so easy for us to get riled up about characters like the terrorists is that we can see them. We can at least get a mug shot of the guy who wants to hurt innocent people. It’s a lot harder to fight an enemy that is unseen. It’s like trying to hit a punching bag in the dark. We can’t see the target. We don’t know where it is.
That’s a perfect illustration of how we are if we are only relying on our abilities when it comes to fighting our enemies. Now you might be saying, “Enemies? I don’t have any enemies. I get along great with people around here.” That may be well and true. You might not have anybody that gets on your nerves. You might not have anybody that is trying to cause you harm. But as Christians especially, we have a target painted on our backs and chest. It reminds me of a “Far Side” cartoon. There’s two deer in a forest and they’re both standing up talking to each other. One deer notices a target-like shape on the other deer’s chest and says to him, “Bummer of a birthmark, Stan.”
Satan and all his powers are trying to bring us down in big and small ways. Anything to keep us from God. Anything to keep us forgetting that He is Lord of our life. Scripture tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour anyone. Yes, Satan is real and so are the forces that he commands.
It shouldn’t take me long to give a short list of what Satan and his demons use to keep us distracted, to keep us thinking that there is no real hope. Depression, Anxiety, Anger, FEAR – that’s a big one – envy, bitterness, apathy. The problem is that many Christians are confused about the presence and activity of demonic influence in the world today. We think because we have come up with better drugs, better therapy, and better scientific rationalizations, we have taken care of so-called evil influences.
The problem is that because so many of us are confused about these evil powers we can stay in bondage to something that we don’t even know about. Because you don’t know that you have a sign on your back that says, “Kick Me!” doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
If that is the case, if that’s really true, can you explain to me what possessed the terrorists as they killed thousands of innocent men, women, and children. Can you explain to me why a mother would kill all of her children in a post-partum depression? Can you explain to me why homicide is the number one killer of teenagers in the United States? Can you tell me why so many of our youth and adults have found drinking and partying to be the reason to live, the focus of their life? Paul writes that it is not flesh and blood (people and things that we can see and tough) that we wage war against but it is against evil, supernatural powers.