Summary: Preliminary thoughts on the battle we’re in from Ephesians 6:10. It deals with The Period, The Power and The Purpose.
SERMON TOPIC: Spiritual Warfare or The Battle We’re In
SERMON TITLE: BE STRONG
SERMON TEXT: Ephesians 6:10 - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Recently we turned up the burner under our prayer life and whether we intended to or not we became frontline warriors in an age old battle that has been raging for the souls of men.
In his last newsletter, David Wilkerson wrote:
“Satan simply won’t give up in his war against us. If we defeat him once, he’ll redouble his forces and come right back at us. Suddenly, we’re in a spiritual war we thought we’d already won.” (Feb. 26, 2007)
Two-thousand years ago, Paul wrote to the believers at Ephesus:
“…God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.” (Ephesians 6:10-13, The Message Bible)
In verse ten, Paul covers two important aspects of our involvement in this battle: 1) The Period, 2) The Power. Although, he covers this later, he has The Purpose in mind as he begins to talk to his readers about Spiritual Warfare.
Our coming to Christ brought changes, not only to our position before God, but to the manner in which we conduct our daily life. Earlier, in 4:22-24, Paul commanded his readers to, “…everything connected with the old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life…” (The Message).
Prior to our conversion, we lived our life in and by our own strength. We faced adversity with a stiff upper lip, will power, and well constructed walls. We foolishly thought that overcoming adversity was a matter of resolve. Because of our wounds we built walls to protect ourselves. We ran from uncomfortable circumstances and blamed others for our failures. We sought revenge instead of forgiveness. Instead of walking in truth, we maintained our illusions.
According to Paul all of this should change when we come to Christ. The “finally” of verse ten points to the period of time that begins at our conversion and continues until Christ comes.
This new life is to be lived in a new strength.
Paul exhorts his hearers to “be strong.”
The Sphere – Paul does not command his readers to strengthen themselves or to use God’s power or to work up some level of emotional energy. They are to “be being empowered or strengthened” by the Lord. The power Paul is referring to is found only in the Lord. They are to be strong in the Lord.
The Strength – Earlier, in Ephesians 1:19-22, this power is described as the same power that God exercised when He raised Jesus from the dead, seated Him at His right hand and made Him head over all things. The strength in view here is threefold.
1. It is the ability to firmly maintain one’s position or hold ground.
2. It is the ability to endure great adversity. It is the robust character of the oak tree, which holds it’s ground and is still standing after the hurricane has blown itself out.
3. It is the ability to effectively advance against a formidable opponent.
• Paul prayed that they might PERCEIVE this strength (Eph. 1:15-21).
• Paul prayed that they might RECEIVE this strength (Eph. 3:14-16; Col 1:9-11).
In Colossians, it is given by the Spirit and received in our inner man.
It is evidenced in a perseverance sourced in the knowledge that all hostile forces can and will be overcome and in the ability to endure adversity joyfully.
It is proportionate to our knowledge of God. (See Colossians 1:10-111 and Dan. 11:32.)
Our strength is found in what we attach ourselves to. (See the Hebrew word for “wait” in Isaiah 40:29-31.)
This new strength will accomplish a threefold purpose.
The purpose of being strong is threefold. That we might be able…
1. To Stand (v.11). To hold our position when Satan attacks.
2. To Withstand (v.13). That Satan’s attacks will have no affect.
3. To Stand (v.13). That we will be standing victorious when the battle is over.