Summary: So often we are fooled into trying to stay on the sidelines of the spiritual battle raging around us. This is a call to suit up and become a spiritual warrior.
I serve a great king. Isn’t that the truth this morning? The video we just watched actually kind of gives me chills at the end because it’s an amazing declaration of the victory we have in Christ Jesus.
If you have your Bibles with you this morning, would you turn with me to the book of Ephesians, chapter 6, starting in verse 10 (through 18). It’s up on the overhead for you as well. This morning, I will be reading out of the New International Version
When I was a young teenager, maybe 13 or 14, I lived in Quispamsis, just outside of Saint John and my family attended King’s Valley Wesleyan Church. Every spring, the church puts on a huge Easter musical production. I had also been a part of it in some way, a kid that played with Jesus or a random townsperson in the ensemble, singing my heart out. But this year was different, I had always wanted to have a “role”. I wanted to be distinguishable. I wanted to be in the spotlight. The long and the short of it was I wanted to be the centre of attention. This year was my chance. I got a called from the director of the production and she said to me, “Jordon, how would you like to be a Roman soldier?”. Not only that, but she said I’d have a line! I was pumped. Now, my part was small, and my line was miniscule, but at 14 years old, I didn’t care. I spoke! People looked at me! I was a SOMEBODY!
One day, during a practice, the costume director pulled me aside to do a costume fitting. Now, I wasn’t a small teenager, but when I put on that Roman armor, I felt like I was swimming in it. The breastplate was too big and the helmet kept slipping off my head. In retrospect, I don’t know how to take that…did they really think I was a 6’2”, 350 pound 14 year-old? Well, I digress.
One of the things I got to learn through the course of the production was the importance of the armor I was wearing… or at least the importance that it symbolized. I have a feeling what I was actually wearing wouldn’t protect me against a 5 year old. Each piece of armor was specifically designed to protect a Roman soldier in battle. No piece was frivolous. No piece was an afterthought. Though, as a side-note, those broom-looking things were actually not used in battle. They served no purpose except to distinguish rank in parades and other ceremonies.
I share all of this to bring you back to the passage we read from the book of Ephesians. The apostle Paul, who more or less wrote every book of the Bible, admonishes his readers that we are locked in a battle. Now Christians in the 1st century were used to conflict of some nature. Many had been persecuted already by Jewish leaders throughout Israel. But Paul tells them that this is not the struggle that we need to place importance on. There’s another realm out there. And we are warriors in a spiritual battle of good versus evil. It’s a battle that has no middle ground. There was a line at the beginning of the video when one of the actors declared, “I am not an innocent bystander”. In this struggle, there are no bystanders. There are no neutral corners. This morning, we have been asked to suit up for battle. This morning, I want us to participate in a kind of basic training on becoming a spiritual warrior.
In his book, Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes, "There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him.
"Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5 a lesson. That was a lot of money. I found that it was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up karate."
Too many Christians believe it’s easier to pay the bully than learn how to defeat him. The problem is that many Christians do not understand the reality of the situation.
Here is the reality we live in:
1) There Is An Invisible World That Is Just As Real As The Visible World
Ephesians is chocked full of discussions of the “heavenly realms”. In chapter 1, verse 20, Paul talks about the power of God “that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms”. That is the reality.
2) We are involved in a battle in this invisible world.
Pastor Ryan shared a couple of weeks ago about Elisha and a battle against his foes from Aram. In 2 Kings 6, God opens the eyes of Elisha’s servant to reveal His spiritual army brought to protect Israel.