Summary: As Christians, we are constantly in a Spiritual battle against evil and Satan. We had better be prepared to go to war for the Truth of Jesus.
There is a story of a military officer stationed in Korea. She was in the Army 2nd infantry and the division she was in had an unofficial motto: “Fit to Fight.” She said that she was amused at how each unit twisted this motto to fit their duties. She said that the aviation battalion changed theirs to “Fit for Flight.” And the band’s was “Fit to Delight.” She said the best one though was the sign posted in the dentist office: “Fit to Bite.”
You know I don’t know much about the military. I thought about it when I was younger. I thought about being able and willing to fight for my country. Many of my relatives fought in the US military. My grandfather was in World War II and growing up, just as he still does, he is always telling stories of his earlier years over seas in Italy, France and Germany. I may never be in the US military or defend my country in a war. I may never learn about military operations or understand much about warfare. And even what I can learn from a book or TV is not the same as actually being there involved in first hand action.
But I do know about Spiritual Warfare. I do understand that as a Christian I am constantly up against an enemy in this world and that I play a role in helping to defeat this enemy. I know that when the time comes for me to defend my faith and the truth of Jesus Christ I had better be ready. Before September 11 this country was not involved in a war, but I was. All Christians were. We were in a war which the bible talks about – a spiritual war. And I knew then, just as I know now, that I had better be fit to fight – because the enemy – the enemy – is ready and the spiritual enemies we are up against are fit to bite.
So what is the first thing that we should do to be fit to fight? First, I think we should identify the enemy.
Paul is writing this letter, that we know as the book of Ephesians, to the people in the church of Ephesus. You see Ephesus was a pagan society. It was an affluent city because of it was the most accessible city in Asia, both by land and sea. But it was most noted for the temple of Artemis, the Greek goddess of fertility, which the Romans later named Diana. The temple Diana was one of the 7 wonders of the world. It was 425 feet in length. [That’s almost one and a half football fields]. Its width was 220 feet. Its chief attraction however was an image of Diana said to have fallen directly from heaven to earth. The temple was so popular among pagans that Ephesus emerged as the religious center of all Asia. And so it should be little wonder that when Paul showed up in Ephesus in the early 50’s that he met with such opposition from the locals as he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which stated in no uncertain terms that there are no gods but one and that is the God revealed in the Scriptures and in Jesus Christ who is fully God and fully man and who rose bodily from the dead.
Keep in mind that Ephesus had a great thing going. In many ways it was a tourist town as people from all over Asia came to pay homage to Diana. They would buy statues and trinkets related to Diana. It was an entrepreneurs dream. There were merchants all over the city selling anything and everything related to Diana. The temple also acted as a treasure house where the rich would store their money for safe-keeping. It became a very influential power in the ancient world. Artists would come to paint this great statue of this well-known goddess. Pilgrims would flock from all over to worship there in Ephesus, much like Mecca or Rome today. In this letter Paul has identified the enemy. He knows that the people of Ephesus know who the enemy at hand is. Paul knew the enemy and knew the temptation for those believers in this famous city.
I would have to say that the city and people of Ephesus are not too much different than the people of our nation. What is our Diana? What or who do we worship in this nation besides God, the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to send that is here with us and penetrates us and lead and guides us? What else do we worship besides our triune God? We worship all kinds of other things and stuff that we make gods. Tony Campolo points this out in many of his sermons. For example, I was just watching the television the other day and there was a commercial for a car. I am not sure what make or model of the car. But the slogan was “Something to believe in.” Well, that comforts me. I am glad that in this time of distress and tragedy at least we can count on a car manufacturer for guidance, comfort and peace. What a joke!