Summary: To establish that the Christian must prepare to be “fit-to-fight.” Paul gives the saints at Ephesus their operations order to engage the forces of evil successfully. It outlines the enemy situation, rules of engagement, and equipment safeties (protections).
1. The Enemy Situation
2. The Engagement Strategies
3. The Equipment Safeties
1. In this lesson today, we will discuss the theme: “Ephesus’ Operations Order.” This lesson will deal with the saint’s need to understand the enemy situation in this fight; the battle environment and rules of engagement and the equipment safeties required: for the saint’s battle in their spiritual warfare, against the wiles of the devil and his allies. We will review Paul’s Operations Order (OPORD) written to Ephesus’ that would enable them: to be fit-to-fight! He wrote: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” Ephesians 6:10-11. This begins his final directives to the church. It constitutes an assured victory for them over the “wiles of the devil” in their warfare; and, to all the saints in every age, affording them the same triumph. This sermon uses elements of the Army’s 5 Paragraph Operations Order, Reference, 7, at the end of this lesson.
2. First, we will review the saint’s “situational awareness” regarding their enemy during this spiritual warfare. Paul mentions this twice in the text of emphasis. First, he wrote: “Put on the whole armor of God: that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” Ephesians 6:11. Second, he penned: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand,” Ephesians 6:13. The saints at Ephesus were given an OPORD to make them aware of the enemy’s situation during this spiritual warfare. Paul also instructs them to don the whole armor of God: that they may be able to stand against the wiles, i.e., the evil devices and works of the devil.
3. Second, we will consider the saint’s engagement strategies in sustained warfare: during their temptations, trials, and spiritual conflicts. Paul mentions: “For we (you and I) wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,” Ephesians 6:12. These are the devil's principalities, powers, rulers of this world's darkness, and spiritual wickedness in high places (above the earthly realm). Paul was currently engaged in a battle for the gospel's message; he waged within the household of Caesar and the Roman government: while a prisoner of Rome.
4. Lastly, we will investigate the saint’s equipment safeties or the "whole armor" of God, designed to be worn during their stand against the devil and his allies. Finally, he pens: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God; that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:13-17. This is the saint’s battle dress equipment (BDE). The saint’s BDE is worn always to repel Satan’s constant assaults against their faith, hope, and loving obedience to their Captain in battle: the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. With this brief introduction behind us, let’s consider the first point, “the enemy situation.”
BODY OF LESSON
I THE ENEMY SITUATION
A. First, he wrote: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,” Ephesians 6:10. Paul’s Letter to Ephesus was full of mysteries and instructions to these saints (Chapters 1-5). He now concludes his Letter to them. He states to them his last “finally.” This was a foundation for the purpose yet to come in this Letter. It had a dual purpose for the brethren (all saints). Observe--
1. Paul begins: "Finally, my brethren; that we must yet apply ourselves to our work and duty as Christ’s soldiers. Therefore, as good soldiers, it is burdened on us to be both strong-in-hearted and well-equipped for the battles that lay before us. Purpose one is that they “be strong in the Lord.”
2. Strong in the Lord. This was a theme throughout all Paul’s Letters to the saints: that they are to be strong in the Lord. Our strength for this warfare begins, continues, and will end by being strong in the Lord. This is a bold appeal for the soldiers of the Lord; to be of good courage and unafraid during their engagement with the forces of evil and the evil one himself.
NOTE: Illustrate “Jehovah’s encouragement and assurances to Joshua,” Joshua 1:1; Joshua 1:5-9. He said: “As I was with Moses: so shall I be with you. Be strong and very courageous; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest,” Joshua 5:13-15. He promised to be with Joshua in all of his battles. You can read about Jehovah’s strategies to take the city of Jericho, Joshua 6:1-27. It will encourage your hearts!