Summary: Ephesians 6:11-12 teaches us that we battle against a formidable foe.
Last week we began a sermon series in Ephesians 6:10-24 that I am calling, “The Whole Armor of God.”
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is usually divided into two major divisions: Ephesians 1-3, which deals primarily with doctrine, and Ephesians 4-6, which deals primarily with duty. But, it does seem that Paul has a final division in Ephesians 6:10-24, which deals with the whole armor of God.
Last time we examined our spiritual warfare. And today I would like to examine our terrible enemy in this warfare.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:12)
I am currently reading the three-volume biography of Winston Churchill titled The Last Lion by William Manchester. As a boy, Churchill had more than a thousand lead toy soldiers. He loved to play with them and line them up in various battles. He eventually joined the military—rather than go to university—and became a soldier. As a relatively young man he became First Lord of the Admiralty. During the Great War, which we know as World War I, he resigned his position as First Lord of the Admiralty. He then wanted to command a brigade, but he was not given one. Manchester writes, “As a young officer he had seen fighting in Cuba, India, the Sudan, and South Africa. Twice he had witnessed German war maneuvers, an advantage no one on the general staff shared. He had made a thorough study of the arts of war and had published five books on military subjects.” If anyone knew the enemy, it was Winston Churchill. But, his expertise was not fully utilized until World War II when he was finally called upon to save Great Britain from their enemy.
It is important for us to realize that we battle against a terrible enemy. If we expect to be victorious in our battle against our terrible enemy, then we need to know something about him. Much of the material for this lesson is taken from James Montgomery Boice’s commentary on Ephesians.
Ephesians 6:11-12 teaches us that we battle against a formidable foe.
Let’s use the following outline:?
1. Our Enemy Is Powerful (6:11-12)
2. Our Enemy Is Wicked (6:12)
3. Our Enemy Is Crafty (6:11)
I. Our Enemy Is Powerful (6:11-12)
First, we learn that our enemy is powerful.
Earlier in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul mentioned the devil. In Ephesians 4:26–27, he wrote, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Paul knew that the devil is a real being.
He did so because Jesus also acknowledged the devil as a real being. In fact, immediately following his baptism, Matthew records that “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). During his ministry, Jesus often cast demons out of people.
In fact, throughout the entire Scriptures the biblical writers acknowledge the reality, presence, and work of the devil and his demons.
So, when Paul got to the end of his letter to the Ephesians, he wrote a summary statement about the devil and his demons against whom we battle. He wrote in Ephesians 6:11–12, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”