Summary: Spiritual warfare
August 1, 2010
[VIDEO of US soldier being shot by a sniper and immediately standing up because of his armor]
Christians are in a battle as real and as dangerous as any battle ever fought. What you just saw happens every day in a spiritual context to believers all over the world.
Our objective is to walk in a manner worthy of our calling; we’ve received some tough commands for husbands and wives and families and even slaves and masters. But the enemy, Satan, makes war against us to see that we don’t obey.
How do we defend ourselves? Paul finishes the book of Ephesians using the Roman soldier and his armor to illustrate our situation and our means of victory.
He gives us…
The Armor of God
1. Believers stand strong and secure when they stand in the Lord (:10-13)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
To “be strong” is the first command. This isn’t optional, but the emphasis is that our strength is in the Lord. This isn’t something we do for ourselves. We’re “in Him.”
Because of this we rest in His might. God can do what no one else can do; He can do what no one else can even imagine.
The word for “Lord” is the same word we saw last week that is translated as “Master.” Paul tells us here to “be strong in the Master.” I don’t think it’s an accident that this statement comes right after the commands for slaves to obey their earthly masters. What does it mean to rest in God? What does it mean to be strong in Him and in His power?
We obey like slaves obey their masters. It’s only through obedience that a person can rest in Christ and share in His power. Remember what Christ told Paul—“power is perfected in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9).
To illustrate even further Paul describes standing firm as a soldier prepared for battle:
11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
To put on the full armor of God is our second command. We’ll define the armor in a few minutes, but for now I want you to see that the armor itself is tied to being in Him. The individual pieces aren’t actions we take but attributes of God.
We’re to put on every piece of this armor so that we’ll stand firm. To stand firm is to hold the line without wavering. There’s no alliance whatsoever with our enemy.
Sometimes Christians want to play with sin, but they need to see that we aren’t in a time of peace—this is full war. To dabble in sin is like wandering around the front lines of battle without paying attention.
Remember what happened with Eve in the garden—“you surely will not die!” (Gen. 3:4). Sin doesn’t look so bad, but God describes it in truth. Right before Cain killed his brother, Abel, God confronted him and warned, “Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7).
We must stand firm against Satan and sin knowing that we’re in a war—there’s no alliance with us.
This is made harder because Satan’s work is sneaky rather than full-out assault. He doesn’t often charge the hill with guns blazing because that would give him away.
He didn’t show up in the garden with a plan to overthrow God and destroy man; he was trying to be helpful and just give man something God had left out. He’s not trying to cause any problems; he just wants you to have all the fun you can in life.
But we know the wiles of the devil. He’s a sneaky thief, an outright liar, and a bloodthirsty murderer (Jn. 10:10). On one hand he’s a roaring lion (I Pt. 5:8), but on the other he’s subtle and quiet. He’s like a sniper waiting for the kill shot.
He deceives, he distracts, and he manipulates.
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
It’s important that we acknowledge that we’re in a spiritual war because if we don’t we won’t put on the armor.
There’s a line from The Lord of the Rings where a king says, “I will not risk open war.” Another man responds: “Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not.”
We’re in open war against all the forces of evil, therefore, we must put on the full armor of God.