Summary: Before we fight spiritual battles it is imperative that we know the source of our strength.
September 4, 2005
Text: Ephesians 6:10-20
Subject: The Armor of God ¡V Part 1 Knowing Your Strength
Title: Knowing Your Strength
In the wake of hurricane Katrina we see the devastation of property, loss of life, and the dehumanization of a culture. An enemy has blown through Louisiana and Mississippi and left chaos in its path. Our hearts go out to all those who have suffered and will suffer loss. Our prayers also go forth that through the devastation the gospel of Jesus Christ can literally raise people up out of the miry clay and set their feet on the solid rock of Christ in order that they might have hope once more. Katrina, like any other disaster, not only has taken its toll on life and property, but also has taken hope away from a people who border on hopelessness.
Friday September 2, 2005
More than 150 years ago, the Illustrated London News pronounced loftily on a young American city. "New Orleans has been built upon a site that only the madness of commercial lust could ever have tempted men to occupy," observed the magazine in 1853. Now the planners and citizens of one of the world’s most famous cities have to decide how - and if - they can rebuild and what Hurricane Katrina has changed forever.
The church of Jesus Christ faces a similar situation every day of its existence. There is a spiritual storm that rages all around and we may not even recognize the destruction that awaits us. The enemy of your soul is constantly bombarding the church with false promises, false truths, and false accusations for the purpose of destroying the very foundation of who we are, so that there can be no rebuilding.
True story. A Christian leader -- we’ll call him Steve --as traveling recently by plane. He noticed that the man sitting two seats over was thumbing through some little cards and moving his lips. The man looked professorial with his goatee and graying brown hair, and Steve placed him at fifty-something. Guessing the man was a fellow-believer; Steve leaned over to engage him in conversation. "Looks to me like you’re memorizing something," he said. "No, actually I was praying," the man said. Steve introduced himself. "I believe in prayer too," he said. "Well, I have a specific assignment," said the man with the goatee. "What’s that?" Steve asked. "I’m praying for the downfall of Christian pastors." "I would certainly fit into that category," Steve said. "Is my name on the list?" "Not on my list," the man replied.
Common Ground, Vol. 10 No. 7.
Since we are up against such an enemy does it make any sense that we would try to fight the battle on our own?
Today I want to begin a series of messages on spiritual warfare. I want to base the series on Ephesians 6:10-20. As we go through various aspects of spiritual warfare my prayer for you is that you can get hold of what the Lord is speaking to you and stop the advances of the enemy before they ever start.
I. SPIRITUAL STRENGTH IN THE LORD (10) I don’t have to tell most of you that I am strong willed. I have always had the attitude that if I set my mind to do something I will do it. Not that I strive to be forceful or dominate; I just stick to my guns. But all the strong will that I naturally have is no good in a supernatural battle. Paul tells us in verse 10 that we are to be strong, but not in our own strength. We have to have the power of God’s might working in us to be able to stand. The word that is translated "be strong" in verse 10 comes from a compound word in the Greek "endunamoo". The first part "en" means "a position of rest" or "giving yourself wholly to something". The second part comes from the Greek word "dunamis" which means "a force; specifically, miraculous power." So Paul is encouraging his readers to be strong, not in their own strength, but in the supernatural strength that is working through them. Verse 11 tells us to be strong in the Lord and the Ppower" of His might. The word translated as "power" here is not the same word that we normally see, "dunamis". It is the word "kratos" which literally refers to God’s dominion or His vigor. Look at one more word in verse 10, "might". It is the word "ischus" which means "forcefulness". So using variant translations of those words let’s look and see what it means when you put it together. "Give yourself wholly, as a position of rest, to the miraculous power that comes through God’s dominion and do it in His forcefulness." The word "forcefulness" is not for the squeamish. Only those who are strong in the Lord will be able to fight and win the spiritual battles that come upon us. How do we get that spiritual strength? Ephesians 3:20, "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us..." Go back to Acts chapter 1 beginning with verse 4, "4And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ’which,’ He said, ’you have heard from Me; 5for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’ 6Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be „Twitnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." There we see in verse 8 that word "power¡¨ again. This time Jesus uses the word "dunamis" to describe the fullness of the power we are to have. Strong’s Concordance defines the word like this, "miraculous power, the miracle itself, ability, abundance, meaning, might, power, strength, violence, wonderful work." This miraculous power is available to us through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When I was in the fourth grade back in St. Louis County I was a fighter. I’m not proud of it now but that’s just who I was. And my best friend was the smallest guy in our class. His name was Jeff and everybody was always picking on him and I was always standing up for him. One day two fifth graders decided they were going to whip Jeff and I stepped in to prevent it. As I waded into the heat of battle I looked over my shoulder and Jeff was running as fast as he could towards home. Now I was in the middle of a fight with a strong opponent and no help. After what seemed like an eternity (about fifteen minutes) of fighting a car pulls up and my Mom gets out and pulls us apart. I didn’t realize it at the time but Jeff had the sense to call on a higher power before he entered the fight, while I went into with my eyes closed. We have the ability not only to stand in God’s power to fight the battle, but also to pursue the enemy and tear down his strongholds.